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Should Rahul Gandhi abdicate to save Cong?

By Swati Chaturvedi | Last Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 20:16
Swati Chaturvedi

"The Congress is the Gandhi family and as long as the family exists the party cannot be directionless," said Mani Shankar Iyer to me on <i>Kahiye Janab</i> and this is not just a plug for the programme.

While I would like you to watch the programme, I think in Iyer's words you have it in black and white. So this is what the party that fought for India's independence has come to.

I asked Iyer also whether in his view even the sainted Gandhi's had suffered some diminution from the time of Jawaharlal Nehru to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and whether they were pygmies compared to Panditji. Not surprisingly, Iyer did not agree.

And, that is the problem. With all leadership suppressed in favour of the Gandhi's and the neo model who has now entered middle age not really up to the job, what does the party do? It has no options, and only the God given opposition in the form of the bad joke party aka BJP that gives it a shot.

Most successful people are at the top at the age of 42, but as poor Salman Khurshid pointed out in a rare burst of frustrated candour that Rahul Gandhi does only cameos when a hero's performance is needed by him to save the party.

The Congress can't even make an issue of Akhilesh Yadav fiddling in Australia on a holiday while UP burns, because Rahul has been away all summer on secrecy shrouded trips. Sure he makes guest appearances but that is the problem.

Sonia Gandhi is probably the only person convinced in India that Rahul is up to the job of leading the country but since it's only her call the country's opinion does not count.

Despite the ardour displayed by palace courtiers like Iyer, Gandhi does have a choice. Iyer referred to him as rajkumar in the programme, and perhaps like royalty, Gandhi can abdicate in order to save the party.

First Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 20:16

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