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Leadership of Rahul Gandhi and the Challenges ahead for the Congress Party

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Recently, Mr. Rahul Gandhi was elected as 87th President of Indian National Congress. On 28th December 2017, he unfurled the flag on the 133rd Foundation Day of the Indian National Congress as the President of the Party. He had been handling the post of Vice-President of INC since January 2013.

He took over the rein from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who had been the President of Indian National Congress for 19 years.  She was elected Congress president in 1998. It was a moment of great responsibility for the young leader to take charge of the 132-year old political party.

Mr. Gandhi is the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to occupy the prestigious post. There were many speculations as to who would qualify for the honorable vacancy.

The consensus to elect the president emerged soon after the elections in Gujarat came to an end, i.e. in the month of December 2017. Although Bharatiya Janata Party won the high-voltage election, the margin with which they won, was less commendable.

Undeniably, Rahul Gandhi worked hard during the election campaign in Gujarat. Dismayed by a formidable opponent, the Congress Party joined hands with Patidar Anamat Andolan Samity (PAAS) and its leader Hardik Patel to check the victory march of BJP. The joint campaign also focussed on issues such as crop prices, the impact of demonetization, unemployment, and social discriminations.

However, the exit polls showed that the BJP would make a clean sweep by winning more than 60% seats. Contrary to expectations, the results were different.

Gujarat has been the land of Narendra Modi for nearly one and a half decade. Though the Congress party and its allies lost the game of number in elections, morally Rahul Gandhi kindled a ray of hope for the party which could eventually change the game of electoral drama in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

He attacked BJP by accusing it of telling lies. He stated that the BJP was using unfair means to meet its political goals. He also accused the central government of having undermined the Constitution.

Mr. Gandhi asserted that the Congress moved India into the light of 21st Century but Modi’s Government had taken India to its medieval past where people were not having the freedom to do whatever they liked.

He also alleged that BJP was harassing people for speaking against the Government. Instead, he emphasized that India’s history was based on love and compassion. Unfortunately, the ruling Government was not doing enough to preserve it.

He lamented the existing quality of political discourse in the country. He recalled how politics which once belonged to the people, was now being used against them. Politics is bereft of the kindness and truth that once it had. He pledged to reinvigorate the Congress Party as a party of youths that will promote peace and harmony among people.

While Rahul Gandhi promised to infuse youth power into the grand old party and harshly criticized the opponent, his statements are not backed by facts. Prima facie, it may seem that the BJP-rule is autocratic in nature, but it is also a truth that India during such rule has made tremendous progress in different fields of national significance as those of GDP, fewer imports, promotion of indigenous industries and so on.

The Congress Party which ruled India for a decade from 2004-2014 was mired in many scams. It came to light that many of those scams were under the BJP rule.

Every Political Party has its own ideologies which might not be accepted by everyone. It is hoped that the Congress Party learns from its past mistakes and realigns itself in the larger interest of the nation to serve it better. The rejuvenated spirit will truly put the party back on track and will put it in a good position to reconquer all the lost territories in the next State and Union elections.

But a lot of groundwork needs to be done for the same, though Rahul Gandhi has been in politics for a long period. In the last few years, Rahul Gandhi has been in controversy due to his statements against the ruling party.

The decision to elect Rahul Gandhi as the president of the Congress Party is apt taking into account the current condition of the Party.  He was truly the most eligible candidate for the coveted post. However, nothing can be presumed of quick results at such an early stage. We have to be optimistic to get a rejuvenated Congress Party.

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