DC Edit | Sonia for RS: Big shift for Cong

Congress acknowledges weakening position, fields Sonia Gandhi from Rajasthan after recent losses, signaling a shift in party dynamics
The decision of the Congress Party to field its top leader Sonia Gandhi, former AICC president, from Rajasthan, a state where it lost power in the Assembly elections recently to the BJP, is a big shift in the party’s situation, and contains an acknowledgement of its relative weakness vis-à-vis the ruling saffron party.

The Gandhi family has had a unique position in the Congress Party which remained sui generis in Indian polity for most decades since Independence. And almost as a rule, the Gandhis went to the Lower House, as an acknowledgement that they were in power only because the people legitimised it in a direct election, every once in five years. Since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was first elected in the general election of 1952 through Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, and later on, Sonia Gandhi herself, and her son Rahul Gandhi, everyone has made it to the House of the People. Hence, this is a black swan event for the family and party.

It is quite clear that the party, having first lost its pocket borough of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh when BJP leader Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi, forcing him to retreat to Wayanad in Kerala, has conceded any pretence of space in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. When conceding UP almost equals conceding the whole election.

Of course, the Congress might still field Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, or forward Rahul Gandhi or his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Rai Barelli, a seat currently held by Sonia Gandhi, as candidate, but the party will easily acknowledge that these are no longer the safe seats they once used to be.

Sonia Gandhi as a Rajya Sabha member, or an elder in Indian politics, is a welcome decision, but it does reflect the decline of both her family and party.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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