Rahul Gandhi (pictured) is all set to don the mantle as Congress president. His pending elevation, confirmed by the Congress Working Committee, goes to vindicate Mani Shankar Aiyar’s candid confession that “there is nobody else in the Congress party to be its PM candidate”. On taking over the leadership from his mother who has been the longest-serving party president, Gandhi will become the face of the Congress. Given the Gandhi glitz, he will be the party’s undisputed leader. At a time when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is working for a Congress-mukt Bharat, he has the Herculean task of reviving and rejuvenating the Congress to restore its status of the “natural party of government” in its heyday. He is pitched as the party’s best hope of recapturing the pre-eminence it enjoyed for decades since Independence.
For all the unfair characterisation of him, Gandhi represents value-based politics and swears by India’s pluralism and diversity as the country’s unalterable feature. India is so vast and varied that it is indeed a patchwork quilt. In Gandhi we have a leader who believes in the space to accommodate disparate peoples and can hold them all together. His public-spiritedness and concern for the impoverished masses, coupled with his clear-headedness and breadth of vision, qualify him to lead the party and the nation. It is significant that he is taking over the party’s reins at a time when the incumbent prime minister’s popularity is on the wane despite the results of biased opinion
polls to the contrary.
Gandhi is a foil to Narendra Modi and his identification with the marginalised, Dalits, Adivasis and farmers makes him less acceptable than Modi to the social elites. The upper castes and classes are lavish in their praise for Modi for a reason, safeguarding their interests. Gandhi can easily become the rallying point for forces opposed to right-wing Hindu revivalists.
The Gandhi scion is a dynast by birth, but a democrat by conviction. He conducts himself with great dignity in the rough and tumble of politics and has a great future ahead of him.
G David Milton Maruthancode
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