Organisational elections were overdue in the Congress and strong speculations were rife many a time that the polls would be held and Rahul Gandhi would replace his mother as the president of the 132-year-old party which led the freedom struggle and which ruled the country for best part of the 70 years of Independence, but now the guessing exercise is over as the election schedule was announced by the chairman of the central election authority of the party Mullapally Ramachandran. According to the schedule, the process to replace the incumbent party president Sonia Gandhi will begin from December 1, when the poll notification will be issued. Thereafter the nominations will be filed till 3.00 pm December 4. For nomination, at least ten delegates have to propose a name. If there is more than one name, the final list of the contestants will be issued on the last day of nomination. Otherwise the name of the successor will be declared. There are many other details but as the most probable name would be that of Rahul Gandhi, his name would be declared on December 4. The decks have been cleared for the elevation of Rahul Gandhi when the polling for assembly elections of Himachal Pradesh are over and the campaign for the Gujarat poll is on. It is a crucial time when after Himachal campaign Rahul Gandhi is hectically engaged in leading the rallies in the home state of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
2014 was the nadir for the Congress when its tally fell to an all-time low of 44 seats and thereafter, among many state elections, the party could comprehensively win only Punjab and was the part of the winning alliance in Bihar. No doubt, Sonia Gandhi was the part and parcel of the campaign till now, she could not strain every nerve on account of her failing health. Rahul was held responsible for the dismal performance of the party. But it is also a fact that the new ‘avatar’ of Rahul Gandhi has turned into a serious challenge for the Prime Minister in his home state where the people are bitten by anti-incumbency factor. The Prime Minister and his adviser-in-chief, party president, Amit Shah, are leaving no stone unturned to retain the state by hook or by crook. The defeat in the state poll will certainly spell doom for the party in 2019. For the Congress and other opposition parties, it is the prime time opportunity to hit the bull’s eye. The fluid situation, at the moment, is favouring the Congress, but Amit Shah may still have certain tricks up his sleeves. Then the vast cadre is the advantage for the BJP. But the people’s anger is bound to burst to force the ruling party to bite the dust.
The Congress may or may not retain Himachal but the victory in Gujarat is a dire need of the hour. This victory is the glad tiding for the party and a golden opportunity to turn the corner. Win or no win, Rahul Gandhi is certain to retain the glorious values of the party particularly the secular principles which are in danger in the Modi regime. The youth who have been waiting for the day for at least past two to three years should be given important responsibilities in the party, but at the same time the guidance from the seniormost leaders should not be shunned or ignored. Simply finding fault and criticizing the BJP day in and day out will not help make the Congress a superior choice for the people, a majority of whom has been misguided to see a Messiah in Narendra Modi. The communal and obscurantist refrain of the RSS which is guiding the ruling BJP should be brought to the notice of the vast majority . The failure on the economic front is the other vulnerable spot for targeting with full force at the command of the party. The young generation is awaiting a leader like Rahul Gandhi who should come up to its expectation. The ruling BJP which is bent on saffronising the political and social life by rejecting the secular values enshrined in the constitution is bound to be dumped by the people.