India’s Congress Party still confident Rahul Gandhi is ideal PM candidate
- POSTED: 17 Dec 2013 20:01
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Despite a poor showing in the recently concluded provincial elections, India's Congress Party is confident that Rahul Gandhi is the ideal prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections.
NEW DELHI: Despite a poor showing in the recently concluded provincial elections, India's Congress Party is confident that the next generation of the Gandhi political dynasty is the ideal prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections.
The Congress Party's complete rout in all four states where elections were held to the state governments has been attributed to poor leadership and lack of ground support.
The party tried to announce schemes to lure voters but the disenchantment with the country's oldest political party seems to be growing.
Nervous about these elections having an impact on the general elections in 2014, Congress Party workers have begun talking about changing the way things are done in the party so as to meet the challenge by principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The right wing Hindu nationalist party has already named Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.
The Congress Party is expected to nominate the scion of the Gandhi political family, Rahul Gandhi, as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls.
Congress leader Priya Dutt said: "We will be extremely happy if the party chooses to announce its prime ministerial candidate in its session on January 17. And you all know that there is only one leader in the party, and we would wish that Rahul Gandhi is projected and he does take it on for the future."
The party's spokesperson was quite candid when she said there is really only one leader in the party.
The Congress Party has not had internal elections in the party since 1973, when then party president and prime minister Indira Gandhi suspended them.
Indira Gandhi ran the affairs of the party till her assassination in 1984. Her son, Rajiv Gandhi, took charge of the party without an election. And when he was assassinated, the party turned towards his young Italian-born widow, Sonia Gandhi.
She, however, refused to take up reigns of the party and remained in the shadows for a few years, only to return as party president and win the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition to elections.
Since then, she has groomed her son Rahul Gandhi to take over from her.
Rahul, however, keeps denying that he wants to be prime minister, claiming he is quite content being an organisation man in the party.
The BJP uses that reluctance to claim he is simply afraid to go into battle with a strong rival like Modi.
BJP leader Shahnawaz Khan said: "By appointing Rahul Gandhi as their prime ministerial candidate, does Congress want to lose Lok Sabha elections also? It is not a new thing.
“Things were clear right from the time when he was made the vice president of the party. Now, he is being blamed for Congress' defeat in four states. If after all this, the Congress still wants to declare Rahul as their prime ministerial candidate, it means they have made up their minds to sit in the opposition."
The Congress Party is scheduled to hold a grand session in New Delhi on January 17, and Rahul's anointment as the party's prime ministerial candidate is probably going to take place then, though the whole process remains shrouded in secrecy.
The two top posts in the Congress Party are held by the Gandhi family -- the president is Sonia Gandhi and the vice president is Rahul Gandhi.
Once Rahul's name is announced, he will become the fourth generation prime ministerial candidate from the Gandhi-Nehru family.
His great-grandfather, grandmother and father have all been prime ministers of India.