New Delhi: As Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed her party members Friday in Jaipur at the ‘Chintan Shivir’, a unanimous demand to declare Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 General Elections was put forth by the party leaders.
Interestingly, reports on Friday claimed that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is likely to lead BJP’s campaign for the 2014 polls.
Following the developments, a possibility of a face-off between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi appears quite apparent.
Congress MPs Raj Babbar, Avtar Singh Badana and some other members present at the ‘Chintan Shivir’ made the demand for Rahul as PM. The conclave was attended by over 150 members of the Youth Congress and NSUI delegates who were invited at the instance of Rahul Gandhi.
Speaking to reporters outside the brainstorming conclave, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said, "Every person in the party wants him (Rahul) to take over but please don't force him. Let him decide what he wants to do."
Heaping praise for the Gandhi scion, Congress MP Ambika Soni said, "Jaipur ‘Chintan Shivir’ is a little different from Shimla and Panchmarhi. The credit for this difference goes to Rahul Gandhi ji. For the first time we have delegates from NSUI and Youth Congress who have been elected through a proper process and sent here."
At a time when Modi has proved to be an able administrator, the Gandhi scion has proved to be nothing but a mute spectator in politics. Rahul has a number of failures in his political career and has been at the receiving end not only from the opposition but even UPA allies. At the same time the Hindutva poster boy has superbly projected himself as the ‘messiah’ of ‘development’.
Rahul has failed as a strategist, which was visible during 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections where he campaigned aggressively but failed subsequently. In Bihar too Rahul proved to be a dampener, while Modi has brandished the development card successfully. Not only this, Modi is also considered as the best chief minister in the country, who has single handedly led the BJP to conquer Gujarat thrice.
Congress’ Yuvraaj has maintained his silence during many crucial issues like Delhi gang-rape incident, Lokpal Bill, 2G spectrum scam and many others. Not only this, the grand old party has been too protective and has failed to bring Rahul to the forefront.
Modi too has a tough road ahead as many senior BJP leaders are eyeing the top post. If Modi is given the charge to head his party’s polls campaign, it will be BJP’s answer to ruling Congress, which has already given the responsibility to its young general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi has been made the in-charge of Congress’ 2014 election coordination committee.
BJP sources claim that the decision to make Modi the in-charge of 2014 Lok Sabha polls has the backing of the party’s parent organisation - the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
As per sources, an announcement in this regard could be made in February, coinciding with Nitin Gadkari’s appointment as the BJP chief for a second term despite all controversies surrounding his dubious business venture.
RSS is also believed to be assessing the situation, preparing grounds and gearing up for a balancing act, if its political wing fails to get a clear majority or the required numbers to form government in 2014.
After delivering Gujarat to BJP for the third time in a row, there has been a clamour within the BJP that the leadership issue be sorted soon, as General Elections are due next year. In light of such demands, Modi is seen as the best bet for the BJP.
First Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 10:11