Rahul Gandhi is set to be elected as the Congress president in the next few weeks. The elevation is expected to charge up Congress workers across the country in their battle against the ruling BJP. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi called a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday to finalize the schedule for the election of the new party president. Rahul will step into the shoes of his mother, who has held the Congress chief post since 1998 and is the longest serving party chief. Rahul took his first steps in politics in 2004, while he was appointed as the Congress vice-president in 2013. Due to ill-health of his mother, Rahul has been virtually leading the party for quite some time. He has been extensively campaigning in Gujarat, posing a renewed challenge to the PM Narendra Modi-powered ruling BJP in the state. However, considering the present political environment in the country, Rahul will face big tests that may make or break his political career.
Here we take a look at the five big challenges Rahul Gandhi will face:
Gujarat election 2017
Rahul Gandhi is yet to prove himself as a leader who can lead his party to major electoral victories. He had achieved some success in 2009 General Elections in Uttar Pradesh but couldn’t continue the momentum, partly because of the scams that had rocked the UPA-II government. In Gujarat, a lot is at stake for Rahul. He has attacked the Gujarat development model and mocked PM Narendra Modi’s economic moves like demonetization and GST, state of India’s economy and jobs. During the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections early this year, Rahul’s scathing attacks on demonetization had failed to win votes for the Congress. A failure in Gujarat would put a big question mark on his credibility as a politician.
Congress party is in dire need of reform. It needs new mass leaders not just across the country but in Delhi as well. Most of the senior Congress leaders in Delhi are no more mass leaders in their respective regions, some have gone old. Rahul’s success will depend on his ability to identify new mass leaders at all levels and build a new team.
Another big hurdle for Rahul Gandhi is his inexperience as an administrator. He has not held any position in previous Congress governments. That’s why no one knows how will he perform if ever elected to power. And also, how he can convince people that he could be a better choice for the PM post than Narendra Modi, who has proved his mettle both as a politician and an administrator.
Political messaging, vision
Most of the political messages sent out by Rahul Gandhi are directed at attacking PM Narendra Modi, whose popularity has soared over the years. The policy of attack Modi and his policies have not worked well for the Congress so far. Rahul would have to come up with new and original political idioms of his own if he aims to be the leader of the country.
Connect with masses, Original Congress
Rahul Gandhi’s attempts at connecting with the masses have been dismissed by the electorates as photo-ops in past.
One of the reasons behind the decline of Congress is its away movement from the original ideas of Mahatma Gandhi over the decades. Gandhian politics stood against corruption, social ills like casteism and communalism and for the development of the nation. Though Congress leaders continue to publicly adhere to these issues, it is true that despite Congress’ rule for decades in the country, the ills opposed by Mahatma Gandhi continued and were often supported by the ruling elites. Rahul’s success would depend on how he manages to bring Congress in its original form.