How can Rahul Gandhi be Prince Harry? He is just the Congress darling who has turned out to be the party’s saviour at the age of forty-seven. His mother guided the 132-year-old party for as many as 19 long years. However, young, energetic and a bachelor, Rahul Gandhi inherits the Congress mantle at a time when the grand old party is in its worst shape. It has a miserable 46 parliamentarians in the Lok Sabha, which usually has 543 elected representatives and its vote share also plummeted to a historic low of 19.5 % in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Presently, it is exerting its power in four out of 29 states.
Rahul Gandhi appeared to have groomed himself as a political leader right before the Gujarat elections. He is the sixth person in line from the Nehru-Gandhi family who has held the party’s highest post.
If he achieves his ultimate aim of winning the assembly polls in the western state it would definitely be his big celebration.
Despite all the electoral defeats, many people in the Congress still love to see him as a saviour. He has been gaining popularity slowly, but steadily.
The thing is that the Congress finds its unity only behind one family.
It seems as if the much talked about anti-incumbency trends in Gujarat helped him become the party’s chieftain. It could also be an outcome of his increasing popularity owing to his whole-hearted involvement in the western state.
Will this Gujarat assembly election change his future? If he emerges on the political horizon as a new variant of the Congress Party, it must be because of the BJP’s flaws.
It is not only the Congress Party which has submitted itself to dynastic or family rule. Various other regional parties have dynasts as well. This is the stark reality of our indigenous politics. Though our great country is wholly constitutional, the politicians like to take inspiration from their own drawn-up contour.
Though the Congress Party remained deeply stuck to the Nehru-Gandhi family up till now, it has utterly lost its pre-independence tint. Its ideology has been strikingly altered in view of the changing political scenario in all these years.
Motilal Nehru became the president of the Congress Party in 1919 for the first time at its Amritsar convention and later at the Calcutta convention in 1928. He was the first man of the Nehru family. His son Jawaharlal Nehru was elected president thrice. He was in charge of the Congress in 1929, 1936 and 1951-53.
Continuing this father-son tradition Indira Gandhi took it forward after the election at a special session in Delhi in 1959. She was again chosen as the president in 1978.
Holding the post as the youngest president, Rajiv Gandhi occupied the chair from 1985 to 1991. After that, Sonia Gandhi held the post of party president since the year 1998 before stepping down from her coveted position for the new chief Rahul Gandhi.