Well, don’t ask who will take his place, but one thing is clear: it is time the reluctant leader stepped down. The Congress can come up with a million reasons and excuses, but at the end of the day the fact is that Rahul Gandhi’s magic has just not worked.
To be more precise he has no magic at all. How, will he? Afterall, he’s always the reluctant leader, the one who has to take a sojourn to relook at his purpose in life. And his purpose certainly can’t be to bring back to life a party which has dug itself into a hole from which coming out is a bit more than an uphill climb. And we can never complain that Rahul lacked either intent or vigour, maybe just not of the right kind. He’s put in a lot of hard work too, especially for someone who clearly looks like he has no interest in doing what he is doing. It is time for him to find his life’s calling, far away from the party stalwarts — who partly from a lack of imagination and partly from an inalienable sense of sycophancy — who look to him as the leading star of this grand old party. It’s time for him to make that call to his mother to tell her it’s time he moved on.
But who next? Obviously, the Congress is strapped for ideas and would, if push comes to shove, have no other option but to turn towards his sister Priyanka. The second line in the Congress, just does not have the mass appeal that a party and its leader now needs to take on the leviathan that is Modi. Not that Rahul had it in him to match Modi on either rhetoric or sheer spunk on the campaign trail.
Yes, it is going to be a tough few months ahead as the Congress tries hard, or hardly tries, to find its bearings in an India that has changed too much for its liking. But still one thing seems clear, the rest of the tough journey might have to be done without the reluctant leader.