By Dinesh.K. Sharma
NEW DELHI: Why has Congress president Sonia Gandhi decided not to project Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate?
The reason given for her decision that she conveyed at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Thursday is that that the party never projects its prime ministerial candidate before elections.
That may be the official reason. But the fact remains that the Congress has little hope of salvaging its poll prospects after the drubbing in the December assembly elections in four major states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Delhi.
Obviously, Sonia doesn’t want Rahul to be held responsible for the poor performance of the party in the May general elections.
More over, Rahul Gandhi has not shown any political skills and instincts. He was in charge of the party’s election campaign in UP and the party fared so badly. And now the assembly results in December have proved that the scam-tainted party has little hope of reversing its fortunes in the general elections under him.
The 43-year-old Gandhi family scion said after the decision by her mother and Congress president, “I am a dedicated soldier of the Congress. I will perform any duty party asks me to.’’
The second reason not to project him as the PM candidate is, as his critics point out, his evasion of any ministerial responsibiltiy. Thus he is novice and untested in governance.
Critics also point out his remarks contradicting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the anti-corruption ordinance last year as a sign of his immaturity and raw political instincts.
The third reason is to take Rahul out of the direct fire from BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who has turned the upcoming electoral contest into one between a common tea vendor (himself)and a shehzada (prince Rahul).
Fourthly, Manmohan Singh has already announced that he is not in the race for the PM’s job after the elections. So in that sense, he has cleared the decks for Rahul’s elevation to the top post. Thus, there is no need for the Congress to project Rahul for the prime ministership.
Fifthly, Sonia Gandhi herself may be the contender. You never know. For years, she refused to lead the Congress after her husband’s death. Then she came out of her isolation to head the Congress. Who knows she may now be ready head the government!