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If Sonia Gandhi wants to anoint Rahul Gandhi as Congress president, it's the right time!
Once again there are rumours that Rahul Gandhi might be taking the charge of Congress party as its president. This is perhaps for the fourth time such news reports are being spread although the Congress top brass including Sonia Gandhi is maintaining a stoic silence. But I am not too optimistic that Rahul Gandhi will replace Sonia Gandhi this time.

Such things emerge time and again and until Sonia Gandhi declares anything all such rumours have no value at all. Anyway, I think it's prudent time to analyse whether Rahul Gandhi, if anointed as the Congress president, will be able to revive the Congress preventing its downward slide.

But, before discussing about the Congress, one thing must be noted that Gandhi family is and will remain above the party. Post Indira Gandhi there was a brief period when P.V. Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesari were at the helm of affairs of the Congress party. But then also Gandhi family is considered as the owner of the party despite not taking any active role. Sonia Gandhi took over from Sitaram Kesari the moment she decided to be in active role.

There were many rebels since Indira Gandhi's era, but party survived. Similarly we can say that the Congress gradually ceded its space to regional parties in many States yet the family survived. From 2014, the Congress started ceding its space to BJP in national polity yet the family remained in firm control of the party.

The latest example might be of Puducherry government. The family selected the entire cabinet including the Chief Minister V. K. Ramaswami ignoring the regional mass leaders. The cardinal rule of the party is, "irrespective of the performance of the party, the family will remain its owner uncompromisingly". Successive electoral losses didn't affect the control of the family and thus the next president of the party will be definitely from the family and more likely, Rahul Gandhi.

One thing must be noted that inexperienced Sonia Gandhi brought Congress to power twice. Critics may argue that in 2004 BJP's over confidence benefited Sonia Gandhi or the good works of Manmohan Singh in 2004-2009 ensured that Congress retains power, but, then the efforts of Sonia Gandhi in uniting the party, motivating the workers and leading them from the front can't be denied. In fact someone from the family can only lead in such a way.

At the moment Sonia Gandhi has disassociated herself from the party affairs and mostly Rahul Gandhi is calling the shots. One can ask why Rahul Gandhi is not yet anointed as party president. Simple answer is, Sonia Gandhi is the force uniting both the veteran and young leadership of the party. Veteran leaders have little faith in Rahul Gandhi whereas young leaders feel the veteran leaders are liability on the party.

This difference in fact delayed the decision of anointing Rahul Gandhi as president of the party. Sonia Gandhi is in a dilemma because she is not comfortable in sidelining the veterans. Rahul Gandhi's coteries, if the opportunity comes, will definitely ask veteran Congress leaders to retire gracefully or forcefully.

Is there is any chance for the Congress to return to the power? Some seasoned observer's think that the Congress has still a chance to return to the power if Modi government fails to a big extent. There are also political affairs experts who argue that Modi has no real challenge till 2024. But then one can never rule out a political party.

If I have anything to say to Sonia Gandhi, then I would suggest her to anoint Rahul Gandhi as soon as possible. Rahul Gandhi may not be a match to Narendra Modi at the moment, but the Congress has some brilliant youth leaders who can match BJP's third generation youth leaders. The aged veteran Congress leaders have already lost the credibility and by 2019 or thereafter they would be no more beneficial to the party. Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and other bright youth leaders can be valuable assets to Rahul Gandhi.

Thus it's better that Rahul Gandhi take charge as party president and try to bring in the changes he wants to. It's experiment time. Any further electoral loss will not affect him. He need to ensure increasing the party's strength in 2019 even if Modi retains power. Under Rahul Gandhi, I think young leadership will perform much better than they are doing now under the shadow of veteran leaders. New blood, new team and new approach should be the slogan of the party.

So, if Sonia Gandhi wants to make Rahul Gandhi as president of the Congress party, then the time is now. Further delay will only hamper Congress's interest. And who knows how much will be Modi's popularity in 2019. If the Congress somehow comes to power like they did in 2004, then Rahul can lead the party for another two decades!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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