With no official party position within Congress, and stripped of his status as a member of Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi is a political pariah today. Will Congress dare to ditch him, and reinvent itself or continue to be saddled by his unnecessary and counterproductive antics?
Call it a blessing in disguise, or rock bottom for Congress, either way, Rahul Gandhi’s expulsion from Parliament could set the party on reboot mode if the party’s senior leadership decides to take matters into their hands.
Gandhi might have hit a few right notes with his Bharat Jodo Yatra, but his subsequent disastrous UK sojourn in conjunction with his loose association with “Open society” mafias like George Soros undid the gains from the well-orchestrated PR activity.
That Rahul’s disqualification as a member of Parliament was in line with the law has been attested by legal luminaries who have been associated with the party in the past like former law minister Kapil Sibal.
In its judgement, the Surat court gave a strong rationale to justify its two year imprisonment verdict. It said that Rahul Gandhi had been previously advised by the Supreme court to be careful with his statements but there has been no change in his conduct.
There is no doubt about the fact that BJP will go about showcasing it as a political victory.
One can never go wrong with harping on Rahul Gandhi’s entitlement as an Opposition leader who remains perpetually oblivious of his ineptness as an electoral strategist and his inability to enthuse the cadre.
It is a matter of mystery why despite boasting of great political talents, Congress party senior leadership allows itself to be saddled by Gandhi’s lack of aptitude for politics and his propensity to say things that harm the party more than it benefits it. His presence also impedes Priyanka Gandhi’s growth as a politician – who certainly has more charisma than her older sibling.
Rahul’s inability to smell the coffee and reinvent Congress has also alienated the party’s senior leadership. The young like Sachin Pilot find themselves in perpetual limbo, unsure of their place in the party. For popular leaders like Shashi Tharoor, who have built their own brand and fan following, Congress has little to offer. Even the customary election of Kharge serves the purpose of the status quo.
Now that the former Congress President has been punished by the judiciary for his utterances, the party leadership – young and old – should use this as an opportunity to reinvent itself, bit by bit. Letting Priyanka Gandhi take the centrestage can be a good start. It can also benefit from the victim narrative of political vendetta using Rahul’s expulsion to whip sentiments in favour of the party.
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity continues to grow, the Opposition space has only weakened. This may not be the best thing for a diverse democracy like India’s.