Indian poll 2014: Rajiv Gandhi to be the Congress party’s PM candidate

 

 

Indian  poll 2014: Rajiv Gandhi to be the Congress party’s PM candidate

-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL 

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The Congress dropped hints that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi might be declared the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting here on January 17.

 

Badly rattled by the uncomfortable defeats in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh state assembly polls, the ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had said there would be deep introspection into the reverses. The Congress vice president had suggested that the party would effect changes beyond imagination.

After the great defeat , the Congress has announced to hold a one-day session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) here on January 17, to introspect and to prepare a strategy for the Lok Sabha polls.  The All India Congress Committee will be meeting in Delhi on January 17th to name the party’prime ministerial candidate. Congress MP Priya Dutt said she hopes that party Vice President Rahul Gandhi is projected as party’s prime ministerial candidate. If so, Rahul would be pitted directly against Narendra Modi, who was declared the BJP’s choice for the top executive post in September.

 

It seems many Congress leaders now hope  that Rahul Gandhi would be projected and he takes it forward. In a bid to revive party’s fortunes after its debacle in Assembly polls conducted in four out of five major states, Congress is expected to declare Rahul Gandhi, who is currently serving as its vice president, its prime ministerial candidate ahead of 2014 General Elections. Though, party leaders deny possibility of anointing Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial candidate at the session, speculations are rife that the January 17 session at Delhi could be a repeat of Jaipur brainstorming session held earlier this year. Instead of brainstorming on issues at Jaipur, Rahul Gandhi was named as the vice-president of the party.

Notably, the meet has been called at a time when Congress is facing an uphill task with the emergence of Narendra Modi and UPA appears to be shrinking. Party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have already said there would be deep introspection on the reverses. The Congress vice-president had suggested that the party would effect changes beyond imagination. UPA alliance partner NCP chief Sharad Pawar  who promotes cricket and Sachin as his major  hobby, had also targeted the Congress loeadership, saying people do not like “weak leaders”. According to reports, a formal announcement in this regard is likely to be made during the AICC meeting scheduled on January 17. Sources claim that the decision to declare Rahul Gandhi as party’s PM candidate and end suspense on the issue has possibly been taken keeping in view BJP’s stunning victory in major states where Assembly polls were held recently.

After the Congress rout president Sonia Gandhi had declared that the party would announce its prime ministerial candidate at an “opportune time”. the Congress has convened an AICC meeting in Delhi on January 17 to prepare the strategy ahead with Lok Sabha polls being just a few months away. It is being said that Rahul’s candidature would be announced on the same day. Though it is a debatable issue, the main opposition party has given credit to its PM candidate Narendra Modi for its thumping victory in these elections. 

 

There has been a long standing demand to declare Rahul Gandhi as Congress’ PM candidate and the clamour grew louder after Sonia Gandhi said the party would take a decision in this regard at an opportune time. A section of Congress leaders believe that naming Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate could revive party’s fortunes in the coming polls.

 

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh said the party should ensure that Rahul is declared the PM candidate. Union Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was the chairman of the campaign committee in Madhya Pradesh polls, made the demand immediately after the Congress was routed in Assembly elections in four states.

A top party leader however said that such decisions are never taken in the AICC sessions as they are the prerogative of the party president or the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Even though, at the party press briefing, Priya Dutt, who is also secretary of communication department said the party cadres would like Rahul Gandhi be projected actively as the prime ministerial candidate. She later qualified the statement saying it was her view.

 

The Congress party constitution requires at least one AICC session in a year. Dwivedi said the CWC was yet to set the agenda for the AICC session and hence he dubbed speculation of Rahul’s projection as prime ministerial candidate baseless. Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi also stressed that it was a routine session that was due since the last AICC meeting was held in Jaipur in January. The AICC meeting was due since the last meeting was held in Jaipur along with the ‘Chintan Shivir’ which saw the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the party vice president.  AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi’s announcement of the AICC session, which is likely to be attended by around 1,500 members from across the country, triggered speculation over Gandhi’s projection as the prime ministerial candidate.

 

The Congress does not have the tradition of projecting a prime ministerial candidate. But in 2009, Manmohan Singh had been projected as one as he was the incumbent Prime Minister. However, there is a growing realisation within the Congress that it might have to change tack with the emergence of Modi as a force to reckon with. The Gujarat chief minister has already held several rallies since the BJP named him to lead the party in the polls. Moreover, the party believes the Manmohan  does not have the  necessary  pull prowess and  leadership quality.  Rahul Gandhi has already announced that he will aggressively transform the party to take on future challenges.

 

After the poll debacle, Sonia had called for introspection and the need for communicating directly with people. Sources said the AICC session will give an opportunity to the ordinary members to speak about grassroots situation. The AICC meet has been called at a time when Congress is facing an uphill task with the emergence of Modi as a force to reckon with and some allies of UPA sending warning signals, the latest being DMK which made it clear that it will not have any alliance with Congress in the Lok Sabha polls.  The AICC session may also discuss the issue of allies leaving UPA, the latest blow coming from DMK chief M Karunanidhi who declared that his party will not have a tie-up with Congress for next general elections. Earlier Trinamool Congress (TMC) walked away from the UPA.

A high-level committee of the Congress headed by defence minister AK Antony, has so far steered clear of the task at hand to pick up alliance partners for the polls, but it will have to take the hard decision in the coming days in Bihar, where talks at one stage were to rope in the Janata Dal(United) of Nitish Kumar since the chief minister parted ways with the BJP on the issue of Narendra Modi.

Hours after reports claimed that Congress is expected to declare Rahul Gandhi its prime ministerial candidate ahead of 2014 General Elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday scoffed at the decision of the ruling party.  BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said that it seems by announcing Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate, Congress has decided it wants to sit in the opposition. The BJP has already declared Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its PM candidate.

 Congress will hold a meeting of AICC here on January 17 to prepare strategy for the Lok Sabha polls, triggering speculation that Rahul Gandhi may be anointed the party’s prime ministerial candidate there.  The All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting comes exactly a year after party’s Jaipur chintan shivir where Gandhi was formally made the No. 2 in the organisation .. However, there is expectation within the Congress that the party would not leave any uncertainty on the question of its prime ministerial candidate, especially when the BJP had named Narendra Modi as early as September.

The call for Rahul to be named as the replacement for Manmohan Singh in UPA-3 contrasts with the earlier assessment that a bad performance in the December Assembly polls would discourage Congress from naming a rival to Narendra Modi, who is the BJP’s PM candidate.Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has assured social activist Anna Hazare that he is committed to provide a strong Lokpal to the nation.“We are committed to provide a strong Lokpal system to the country,” Rahul Gandhi said in a letter to Anna Hazare that was released to the media Tuesday. “We respect your (Anna Hazare’s) role and are grateful for your support,” said Gandhi while replying to Anna’s letter that was issued Sunday. Anna Hazare said in his letter that he welcomed Rahul Gandhi’s comment on the Lokpal bill. He also requested Gandhi that the recommendation of the select committed of the Rajya Sabha should be included in the Lokpal bill. “I welcome your commitment. I request you to include the recommendation of the select committee in the bill and include any other points to make the Lokpal bill strong,” Anna Hazare said.

Congress party is yet to overcome  the shock from severe drubbing in four states while the BJP also s so sure about it fortunes in the Parliamentary poll because of  the rising Common-man  (Aam Aadmi) Party

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BY DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL has been an educationist, Columnist-Commentator  on world affairs Expert on Mideast AffairsChronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA);   Former university Teacher;  Editor:INTERNATIONAL OPINION; FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Author of books;website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ mail: abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com/Phone: 91-8129081217—(Account: No 62310377429 – CIF No: 78215311481- State Bank of Hyderabad, India)

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