Congress Needs a New Leader


FORMER Congress president Rahul Gandhi has once again made it clear that he won’t be taking over as the party’s new president and would want a non-Gandhi chief as new Congress leader. His stand has been endorsed by his sister, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. According to Priyanka if the new Congress chief shifts her from Uttar Pradesh where she has currently been posted by her party to Andaman Nicobar, she will happily go. It has been a year since Gandhi resigned as the Congress president after his party suffered a humiliating loss to the BJP in last year’s national election. Congress could just muster 54 seats against the BJPs landslide victory of over 300 seats.

Ever since Congress fortunes have only further plummeted. The BJP continues to reign supreme. A recent India Today survey found out that Narendra Modi is India’s best Prime Minister and Yogi Adityanath was the best Chief Minister. In fact, 66 percent of those polled said that Modi will be a good Prime Minister for the next term as well while Rahul Gandhi got just 8 percent votes.

The BJP has received a tremendous popular boost after it accomplished a series of once unthinkable ideological projects like revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir and the inauguration of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. And by the time the next election draws around, the BJP is further expected to further consolidate its hold on the electorate. That is, if Congress remains as rudderless and adrift as it does now.

For the past year, Congress has Sonia Gandhi as an interim president. The prospect of a non-Gandhi president taking over has turned out to be elusive. For all the talk of Rahul Gandhi and his sister, there has been no visible effort for the election of a new Congress president. This, despite the fact that several senior Congress leaders have displayed serious concern about the state of the party, among them veterans like Kapil Sibal.

Going forward, the election of a full-fledged leader is the most urgent need of the hour for the Congress party. A new leader would need time to settle down and formulate a comprehensive strategy to take on the BJP. There are still four years to go before another general election and the party would need to prepare for it in right earnest. There is also the election in West Bengal. If the party is serious about getting back in electoral reckoning anytime soon, it will have to start early. And the first thing to do for this is to elect a new leader.

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