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Will Rahul Gandhi be the next PM?

Posted by Paul on 29. May 2013
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As the 2014 Lok Sava elections are coming closer, the debate about who will be the next prime minister is heating up. Though in the volatile Indian politics anything can happen, it is now more or less accepted that Rahul Gandhi, Vice president of the Indian National Congress and representative of the famous Gandhi family is one of the forerunners for the top job.

Since Rahul is now a leader of the ruling party, becoming PM may seem easy for him. But the reality cannot be further than this. In the last few years, The UPA government in its second term has come under heavy fire from both the opposition parties as well as its own allies because of several issues that can greatly impact the general public as well. The biggest ally the Trinamool Congress withdrew support from the government on the issue of price rise of LPG and petroleum products. Other Alliance parties like DMK, also criticized this decision. Add to that several scams like 2G spectrum scam; Coal block allotment scam has really put the congress led government under pressure. Many Political leaders are claiming that the departure of the congress party from power is only a matter of time.

Yet, the congress seems hopeful because the opposition parties are divided amongst themselves. In this situation the congress may play its trump card by projecting Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate. On the surface level, he looks perfect for the job. Though he is in his 40’s, he is young compared to the general standards of Indian politics. He is educated, soft spoken, has a rather clean image and last but not the least he is good-looking. Politics in India has mostly revolved around individuals. If the congress can create a proper hype surrounding him using its vast resources then it may survive another elections.

Not that, Rahul’s projection is something new. In the last Lok Sava (parliamentary) elections, he was tipped by some quarters as the new prime minister. But the majority of the party and Rahul himself played down those speculations. Rahul expressed the desire to work for the party rather than the government and was made an All India General Secretary in 2007. He was also given charge of the youth and students wing of the party.

Even though he has full backing of his party, notorious for its factionalism, his road to the chair of prime minister will not be smooth. His rather short political career has not been successful. He was involved with the state elections of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and his party performed poorly in both. Although the Congress recently came to power in the state of Karnataka, it was more due to local issues rather than his charisma. On the other hand he is up against veteran politicians especially the probable opposition candidate Narendra Modi.

Then Rahul will also have to deal with regional powerhouses like Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav who can make or break a government at the center. In many ways it is not just a test for his party but on personal level it is an acid test for the young politician Rahul Gandhi. At this point, we cannot but wait as this great Indian political drama progresses.

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