Challenges manifold for new Congress chief Rahul Gandhi

For 2019 polls, the Congress under Rahul would need to forge a front with allies to take on Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: His rise was on expected lines. But for the new Congress chief, Mr Rahul Gandhi the battle starts now and it’s a difficult road ahead. What surprised all and even the BJP was Mr Gandhi’s transformation as he led the campaign against the powerful BJP and Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi in Gujarat. For the first time, the new found politician, Mr Gandhi was holding his nerves, setting the agenda and none other than “invincible” Modi was responding to him. Whatever maybe the outcome of the Gujarat polls, Mr Gandhi seemed to have managed to rattle the BJP in Mr Modi’s home turf and the saffronites have finally began to take him seriously.

Despite the transformation, it would be a Herculean task for Mr Gandhi to rejuvenate the Congress which is on a rapid decline. Mr Gandhi’s electoral record is nothing but pathetic. A senior Congress functionary said that the main challenge for Mr Gandhi would be to galvanise the party and make himself credible to the electorates. The leader made it clear that at this juncture “there’s no comparison between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi as far as appeal to the voters go.” For him, “Modi is far ahead of Rahul Gandhi as a mass leader.”

Besides being superior in oratorical skill, Mr Modi is viewed as a poor ‘chaiwalla’ who rose to power on his own, while Mr Gandhi, a scion of Nehru dynasty was born into power and money. Like his mother, Mr Gandhi has taken charge of the party when it is at it’s nadir. When Mrs Gandhi took charge in 1998 Congress was in power in just four states. At this juncture Congress is in power in five states.

Mr Gandhi has been hinting of a complete overhaul of the Congress for some time now. However, sources said that the leader was not going to go for any drastic changes immediately. As the nation approaches the 2019 general elections, internal dissension continues to plague the party in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala among other states. It has been pushed into oblivion in Odisha, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh. Unlike Mrs Gandhi, the new Congress chief also does not have a great rapport with the RJD chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav and former SP president, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav.

It remains to be seen, how the Trinamul supremo reacts to Mr Gandhi in near future, a Congress functionary said. With nearly 15 months to go for 2019 polls, the Congress under Mr Rahul Gandhi would need to forge a front and round up allies to take on Narendra Modi. Mr Gandhi’s first test is Gujarat results. If BJP sweeps, the saffronites will tear him to shreds and it would be one of the most difficult tasks for him to rise like a Phoenix.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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