Rahul Gandhi is set to succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi as the president of India’s oldest political party – Congress. On Monday, he filed nomination for what is a one-sided contest minus any serious contender challenging the Gandhi family’s son. The fresh development in the Congress has been widely reported and analysed by media, not just in India but also in neighbouring Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.
The Washington Post headlined its report as “Rahul Gandhi, son of India’s enduring dynasty, to take the helm of its oldest party.” “Gandhi, dubbed “the Reluctant Prince” by the Indian media, had long appeared ambivalent about his family’s business, and critics have charged that he is effete and out of touch, despite leading a party that has historically championed India’s poor and found its strength in its villages,” The Post noted. It also quoted social scientist Sudha Pai as saying, “People are taking him more seriously now…He has played a more sustained role in politics and has not disappeared in between or kept quiet — that was his style earlier. He was seen as a very reluctant politician.”
The New York Times published an Associated Press story about Rahul Gandhi’s elevation. “No other candidates registered by Monday’s dateline, so Gandhi is likely to be declared the victor on Dec. 11 without a formal vote, the report quoted a party spokesman said.
In an article headlined as “Can Rahul Gandhi really run his party, challenge Modi?”, Gulf News noted, “The most immediate challenge before Rahul is elections in Gujarat where Modi’s BJP is seeking re-election for the fifth time.” In contrast to his father Rajiv Gandhi, it said, Rahul faces a “hugely popular rival in Modi and the stranglehold of veterans on his own party.”
Pakistan’s Dawn paper questioned if Rahul Gandhi is ready to fight. It said the Congress scion “seems to be akin to a sacrificial lamb his mother has been reluctant to make an offering of.”
Talking about immediate challenges faced by Rahul, the Dawn said, “Now that he has rolled up his sleeves, however, his work ahead is multipronged, of which two problems need immediate attention — economic loot and cynically stoked social fault lines that have deepened with the advent of Mr Modi.”
Pakistan Today noted analysts as saying that “Gandhi family’s tight grip on the party leadership — dating back to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru — made his ascension almost inevitable. His mother Sonia has led the party for 19 years and has worked tirelessly to ensure her son’s eventual succession.”