Rahul Gandhi set to head Congress, will bring in new working style

Rasheed Kidwai | 20 Nov 2017 12:43 PM

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi (Image: PTI/File)

The Congress Working Committee met at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence on Monday morning. The CWC decided to issue the notification for the Congress presidential poll on December 1, accept nominations till December 4, hold voting on December 16 and counting on December 19.

In brief, Rahul Gandhi is all set to formally take over the Congress leadership. With that some big changes are expected in the grand old party.

1.Accountability: Unlike mother Sonia Gandhi, the would-be AICC chief is unlikely to allow “sab                    chalta hai” culture in the Congress. His inclination to act as a catalyst, ‘judge all’, give lesser                         weightage to identity politics and loyalty are factors that would face resistance from within.

  1. Economic thinking: In a departure from Sonia’s reliance on in-house economists like Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram, Rahul is set to accord more importance to his political instincts and economic world view. There is a possibility of Rahul shifting more towards left of centre.

  2. Secularism: Rahul’s idea of dharma nirpekshta is closer to Indira-Rajiv-Sanjay than Jawaharlal Nehru or Sonia. Rahul is conscious of Congress history where issues like cow slaughter had remained in focus during 1950s and 1960s. In fact, the right wing dominance continued throughout 1960s till Indira flirted with socialism and secularism albeit briefly. Indira returned to power in 1980 and sought to cultivate the majority community. The entire PV Narasimha Rao era had right wing dominance. Sonia Gandhi's working Committee declared, "Hinduism is the sole guarantor of secularism in India."

  3. Re-emergence of regional satraps: As a practitioner of decentralisation, State level leaders are likely to get more prominence. Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, Jyotiraditya Scindia or Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh, Dr Ajoy Kumar in Jharkhand — the Congress under Rahul is set to witness new leaders in most States. The Chief Ministers of party-ruled states like Punjab would get full autonomy in running the show. They would not be required to make weekly appearance in New Delhi to pay a visit to Rahul’s durbar.

  4. Modernisation of party organisation: Rahul may not be able to usher in inner-party democracy, but smart phones are set to replace a lot of paper work at 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi.

  5. Priyanka Gandhi –Varun Gandhi : Speculation is rife in the Congress that Rahul’s elevation may bring sister Priyanka into the party organisation. If that happens, would Rahul reach out to cousin Feroze Varun Gandhi who is not having a great time in the BJP?

  6. Sonia Gandhi question: What will be the future role for Sonia? Will she formally take retirement from politics, travel out of the country to spend more time with her ailing mother or continue to play Rahul’s mentor? A large number of Congressmen want Sonia to remain as chairperson of the Congress in Parliament or head an advisory body of the AICC such as Congress Parliamentary Board. It may not help Rahul.

Rasheed Kidwai is the Associate Editor with The Telegraph. His Twitter handle is @rasheedkidwai

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