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Why Rahul Gandhi's elevation as the Congress president is almost inevitable?
Whenever a political party fares poorly in elections, strong voices demanding a leadership change start emanating from its quarters. The same is the situation within India's grand old political party, the Congress. But as a first time change, no one is talking about Priyanka Gandhi as a possible replacement for Sonia Gandhi, who has already become the longest serving Congress president in history.

Most voices in the Congress now are in favour of Rahul Gandhi, especially the new guard, which includes leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot. It is being widely speculated that the coronation of the Gandhi scion might take place in June.

For the past few weeks there have been murmurs in the party circles that an AICC session would soon be convened with party delegates from all over the country participating and endorsing the CWC plan of naming Rahul Gandhi as the party president.

Despite the widespread cynicism about the quality of young leaders in the Congress, there seems no dearth of talent in the party's ranks, which means that Rahul Gandhi, if elevated to the post of president can pick and choose his team from this talented young guard. It would be a much similar situation like it happened with late Rajiv Gandhi, who led an entirely new team after coming to power.

The circle of life is not merely confined to humans, but to political outfits as well. It happens with every political party, that need to re-invent themselves, where the young replace the old bringing along a new thought process and ideas.

It happened in BJP too, when veterans like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were kicked upstairs to the `margdarshan mandal' by the Modi brigade. And how much of `margdarshan' they have provided to the party in the last two years of BJP's rule is not hidden from anyone. Mr Advani is nowadays seen on rare occasions posing for photographs at public events, remaining otherwise silent, giving the impression that he has long back resigned to his fate.

Likewise a similar change in power seems almost inevitable in the Congress, where the old guard which rallies around Sonia Gandhi will make way for the new guard headed by Rahul Gandhi.

The old guard has also not been able to restore people's faith in the Congress, if the recent loss in Assam assembly elections is any indication. Most leaders of this old guard come across as discontent people, who are miserable and have largely failed to feel the pulse of the nation.

Congress has not lost popularity in the country only recently, but it is something which has happened gradually over the last few years, and it would be wrong to shift the entire blame on Rahul Gandhi. In the past few years, Congress has been vacating a large political space which has been reclaimed by new entrants like the Aam Aadmi Party, a party that routed Congress from Delhi and now seems to be the main threat for them in the upcoming Punjab assembly elections.

Another major trend which has led to the reduction of power of national parties like the BJP and Congress has been the emergence of regional parties in states as better options. The Congress has particularly suffered in states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha with regional parties eroding its support base.

Combined with this, bad decisions of forming alliances in state assembly elections like the more recent alliance with the Left-front in West Bengal assembly elections backfired for Congress, further diminishing the party's popularity. The Congress has now reached a juncture where it's now or never, as Lok Sabha elections are just another three years away.

Many might ague, including a few party veterans, that Rahul Gandhi has been launched and re-launched many times and is a product which should be taken off the shelves. Many don't consider him as prime ministerial material, but the fact is that if not him, then who else? Is there any other young leader who has had the kind of exposure Rahul Gandhi has had so far?

In reality, Congress badly needs the Gandhi name to hold itself together. If the Gandhi family were to abandon the Congress today, the party most likely will disintegrate and breakdown into tiny fragments, forming multiple regional parties.

Surprisingly, in a recent poll survey conducted by ABP-Nielsen in January this year, Rahul Gandhi emerged as the second most popular leader in the country with 11 per cent respondents voting in his favour.

Although the same survey rated Narendra Modi at number one with 58 per cent votes, which he undoubtedly is, Rahul Gandhi still finished ahead of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his mother Sonia Gandhi, who got 4 per cent votes each. It is classical example of whether the glass is half full or half empty. I would say that the glass is half full, and I'm sure the grand old party will also agree.

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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