Can New President Rahul Gandhi Save the Dying Congress Party?

Newly appointed Congress President-Elect Rahul Gandhi shares this historic moment with people of Savli, Vadodara, as he addresses a public meeting. Photo: Congress
Newly appointed Congress President-Elect Rahul Gandhi shares this historic moment with people of Savli, Vadodara, as he addresses a public meeting. Photo: Congress

With his election as Congress President, Rahul Gandhi also is expected to be the prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha election which will be held in 2019.

By Rakesh Raman

The scion of the famous Nehru–Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi, was today elected the President of the Congress party.

He will formally be elevated to the top position on Saturday at a ceremony scheduled to be held at party’s headquarters in Delhi.

Although the party had announced election for the presidential post, Rahul Gandhi, 47, was elected unopposed. He will take the baton from her ailing mother Sonia Gandhi.

Currently, Rahul Gandhi is campaigning for his party in the crucial Gujarat election where Congress is trying to dethrone Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Gujarat election results will be announced 2 days after Rahul Gandhi’s coronation as the party chief.

With his election as President, he also is expected to be the prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha election which will be held in 2019.

Although Rahul Gandhi is extremely popular among his party colleagues and workers, the chattering classes in India believe that he is not yet ready to become the PM of the country.

[ Voter Education for Lok Sabha Election 2019 in India ]

It will be extremely difficult – if not impossible – for Rahul Gandhi to revive the party when it is struggling to survive after its pathetic performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, MCD election, and the recent state elections in 5 states.

Plus, it is being observed that the Congress party lacks content and communication skills that are required to woo the voters. All its communications are designed to criticize PM Modi – particularly Modi’s demonetization decision and Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduction.

People are fed up with Rahul Gandhi’s oft-repeated, monotonous speeches on demonetization and GST. Worse, there is no communications expert in Congress who could bring freshness to the content of Rahul Gandhi’s speeches.

Although Congress has millions of workers across the country, there is not even a single political leader or domain expert who can help Rahul Gandhi save the dying Congress party. His biggest challenge, however, will be to deal with the vulnerable Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that love Lotus, which is the election symbol of BJP.

With these challenges it is not going to be a walk in the park for the new Congress President to restore the party’s relevance in the Indian political arena.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Photo courtesy: Congress

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Rakesh Raman