Rahul as PM? Fingers crossed in Congress

The Congress vice-president, it seems, is still to signal his intent.

New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2014 10:29 am
Rahul will be Congress’s PM candidate or would just saying that the Congress will fight the 2014 elections under his leadership suffice. Rahul will be Congress’s PM candidate or would just saying that the Congress will fight the 2014 elections under his leadership suffice.

The declaration of Rahul Gandhi as Congress’s prime ministerial candidate is still an unsettled question despite the growing chorus from within the party to make the announcement at the January 16 AICC meet. The Congress vice-president, it seems, is still to signal his intent.

Read Also: Decks cleared for Rahul,likely to be named PM candidate at Jan 17 meet

The doubt, sources said, is clearly not about whether he will be the face of the Congress in the upcoming general elections. The entire question appears to be centred on how to project what is otherwise considered a well-known reality for the party.
This essentially boils down to how to frame that crucial one line. Should it be that Rahul will be Congress’s PM candidate or would just saying that the Congress will fight the 2014 elections under his leadership suffice. And then there is always the fallback alternative of not spelling it out at all.

Read Also: PM Manmohan Singh signals retirement after polls

As of now, there are broadly three lines of thought within the party, which has instigated this debate on whether to go for a consensus line that would reconcile these views or simply project Rahul as PM candidate without any delay.
The first line of thought , which seems less popular, questions whether it is necessary to declare a PM candidate? Those backing this line argue that Sonia Gandhi was never projected as PM candidate ahead of the 2004 polls and yet the Congress performed well.

While Manmohan Singh was projected as PM candidate in 2009, the fact remains that he was a sitting PM and that, to many party insiders, is quite different from announcing the candidate. This rather safe option has an unspoken sub-text that stems from a realisation that the Congress is not going to do well in these elections given the huge anti-incumbency after the UPA government’s two terms.

The second line also draws on the same realisation of an anti-Congress mood, but makes just the opposite argument that if at all the party has a chance of improving its position, it has to bring a fresh face like Rahul. Those backing this view, sources said, seem to believe that the Congress vice-president can politically distance himself from the Manmohan Singh government.
There is, however, a third line which makes the point that the decision is not about just this election but a larger call by Rahul on whether he wants to commit himself for the long haul or not. It was this section which argued that he should have been projected as the UP chief ministerial candidate, because, regardless of the results, it would have established him as a serious player, willing to stake claims and undertake risks.

The argument is that the declaration of PM candidate must not be seen as a one-off event but a start of a new innings for Rahul, underlining that he is the Congress candidate now and for future elections. And those backing this line feel this purpose can be served even without saying the word Prime Minister, as long as the signal is clear that Rahul is the party’s new leader.

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First Published on: January 10, 2014 3:38 am
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    Aryaman
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm
    Indian Express needs to do something more positive about being open to peoples opinions rather than stay controlled in fear , as an Old media giant would be scared of a new platform like the Internet making its image look outdated by controlling comments which today are seen as an encouragement to self expression. Which is what Media/Journalism inevitably stands for...
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      Aryaman
      Jan 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm
      Just One question, out of 1.2 billion Indians, How come there is only one indian who thinks Rahul hy is the best choice for PM?
      Reply
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        Harish
        Jan 10, 2014 at 7:19 am
        Rahulji, pls accept to be Congress nominee as PM
        Reply
        1. V
          Vimal Shah
          Jan 10, 2014 at 8:46 am
          "His role being vice president of Congress has beenvery good. He has been working very hard to reach out to the common mes ofthe people."
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            Vimal Shah
            Jan 10, 2014 at 8:48 am
            "Rahul hi do have some respect and pity in hisheart. For the same reason he has been moving towards all parts of India athouses of the people. This how our leader should be."
            Reply
            1. V
              Vimal Shah
              Jan 10, 2014 at 8:48 am
              "Rahul hi is the true visionaery leader for india.He should be PM of India in the next election."
              Reply
              1. V
                Vimal Shah
                Jan 10, 2014 at 8:46 am
                "Rahul 's strategies and way working is verycool. He will surely guide and nurture india in future."
                Reply
                1. V
                  Vimal Shah
                  Jan 10, 2014 at 8:48 am
                  "Rahul hi has a great vision as he wants to runindia with the Youth. He is the person who setback lifted Youth congress."
                  Reply
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                    Vimal Shah
                    Jan 10, 2014 at 9:02 am
                    "Rahul hi is the person who stood for crearting thegroup and uplfting UPA from roots. He has been migrating from states to statesto know about problems of people. Such are the qualities of leader."
                    Reply
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                      Vimal Shah
                      Jan 10, 2014 at 8:48 am
                      "Youth force is what we want to uplift our nation. Thatyouth force is clean and as visionary as Mr. Rahul hi, their have never inthe frame till now."
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                        Vimal Shah
                        Jan 10, 2014 at 9:03 am
                        “ To be honest, Rahul hi is on the same path. Hisleadership qualities amaze me as his love for the poor people has beenimpressive.”
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                          Vimal Shah
                          Jan 10, 2014 at 8:46 am
                          “Many leaders say that he is not fit for the politics but Isay that one day the w world will appreciate his work.”
                          Reply
                          1. V
                            Vimal Shah
                            Jan 10, 2014 at 9:03 am
                            “Many leaders say that he is not fit for the politics but Isay that one day the w world will appreciate his work.”
                            Reply
                            1. V
                              Vimal Shah
                              Jan 10, 2014 at 8:45 am
                              “Rahul hi has been a great inspiration for the youth ofour country.”
                              Reply
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                                Vimal Shah
                                Jan 10, 2014 at 9:03 am
                                “Simply, it can be clearly seen that BJp is concerned fortheir well being only. When something concerns them then they get ideas. Theyare not atall a janta partuy. They are bharat jalao party.”
                                Reply
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                                  Vimal Shah
                                  Jan 10, 2014 at 9:03 am
                                  “The efforts he has been putting reminds me of his fatherRajiv hi who has contributed a lot to the country..”
                                  Reply
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