Rahul Gandhi at a press conference | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Rahul Gandhi at a press conference | File photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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Rahul Gandhi has single-handedly weighed his party down, serving as nothing but an albatross around the neck.

The only hope for the Congress now is to convince the voter that Rahul Gandhi isn’t there at all, and if they vote for the party, they do not run the risk of promoting Gandhi.

As Maharashtra and Haryana voted Monday in what seems like a definite one-sided election, one thing has become clear – Rahul Gandhi needs to quit politics.

For this crown prince, a permanent vanvaas from politics is the only way out to breathe some life into his kingdom.

It isn’t enough that Rahul Gandhi, after a while of what can only be described as juvenile sulking, stepped down as party president. That decision seems to have helped nobody, except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for whom Gandhi’s mere presence in politics – irrespective of the position he holds – is a blessing.


Also read: Has lack of strong opposition in Maharashtra and Haryana made the elections a no-contest?


Where BJP, Congress stand

Both the BJP-ruled states, Haryana and Maharashtra, seem all set to come back to the party’s fold, riding high on the five-year performance of their chief ministers as well as the continuing popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the biggest credit for the likely wins goes to an absent opposition.

The Congress looks clueless as ever in both the states, bogged down by embarrassing factionalism, lack of strong state leadership and, most importantly, a central command that inspires zero confidence. In fact, the Congress’ central leadership has become the butt of jokes, thanks to Rahul Gandhi, who led the party for less than two years but managed to destroy it for what seems like eternity.

For voters, Congress is Rahul Gandhi

If the Congress wants to harbour any hope of resurrection, it can do so only if it is able to completely distance itself from Rahul Gandhi.

It doesn’t matter if Rahul Gandhi is the party president or not, he is the heir-apparent and the face of the party. Voters believe if they choose the Congress, they will get Rahul Gandhi.

For the BJP, Gandhi is easy fodder. All the ruling party and its leaders need to do is rake his name up to remind voters of the alternative that stares at them.

So disastrous has been his run as the party president that he has ended up being a baggage for the Congress – and it is just not able to get rid of him.

Under Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has faced major electoral losses. His complete lack of voter connect, inadequate understanding of ground politics, a disconnected coterie, poor decision-making, a deeply flawed sense of entitlement and misplaced priorities have ensured that the Congress is not even considered an opposition in many states now. His own electoral defeat in the family pocket-borough of Amethi has exposed his reputation as a politician.

His ill-timed vacations aside, Gandhi’s most poorly thought-out political strategy was to personally target Narendra Modi ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, calling him a ‘chor’ (thief) and insisting on mounting a campaign that was bound to fail. He gifted Modi the ammunition to target him with – an ‘entitled, rich dynast’ hurling corruption accusations at a ‘self-made’ and ‘honest’ man who has risen through the ranks. This is just one of the many instances that show Rahul’s political immaturity and lack of ground-connect.


Also read: Three reasons why Sonia Gandhi should make one last ‘supreme sacrifice’ for Congress’ sake


What the Congress needs to do

It’s time for Rahul Gandhi to walk away from politics, for good. Symbolic gestures like resigning from the Congress president’s post just won’t do when Modi has perfected the art of optics and Amit Shah the art of winning.

Rahul Gandhi is a liability for the Congress and as long as he is around in any form (even as a Congress worker), he will continue to bring the party down.

A Congress without Rahul Gandhi can start afresh – with a clear message that it is ready to break tradition and reach out to voters with a concrete action plan.

Moreover, as long as Rahul Gandhi continues to be in the party, all others in the Congress will be forced to work under his shadow, never getting a chance to assert themselves as leaders in their own right. He is, after all, the crown prince, even if he chooses not to sit on the throne. With him leaving the political field, young Congress leaders will have a far better shot at convincing voters that they are the real faces of the party.

Congress cannot be written off yet, it managed to secure over 20 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It is also in power in key states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. But if the Congress wants to arrest its slide and continue to be a political force, Rahul Gandhi will have to say goodbye to Indian politics.


Also read: Congress thinks it only needs to rejuvenate from the grassroots, it couldn’t be more wrong


 

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37 COMMENTS

  1. More than the Gandhi’s, Congress has to cut umbilical cord. Congress continues as a party to be dwarfed by Gandhi presence, to fight their internal differences, than to find a suitable alternative. Till time they bury their ego, & fall in line of understanding & get behind a leader who will build, win, succeed for voters, they face extinction.

  2. This article seems to be written by some BJP guy. Well, we will be happy and a progressive country if Rahul Gandhi comes to the power this self-made Lootera.

  3. Very factual article. Rahul equals destruction! Get rid of all Gandhis and revamp the party. Congress is not for dynasty…let people who want to help Indians and India be party leaders, not people who are there simply to make fortune for themselves and deprive others. Rahul priyanka Sonia….all need to go! They have ruined Indian politics and ethos. As the article states people equate Congress to Gandhis and with them in forefront there is no chance of revival .People have woken up to reality and nobody can pull wool over their eyes.

  4. I think it’s not about Rahul; for that matter the Congress leadership. It’s only about Modi or No Modi. Unless BJP suffers a vertical split, if and when there’s an anti-Modi wave, Congress shall be the beneficiary. This to me is the present scenario.

  5. Priyanka ji is a good choice. Highly respected and qualified to lead under such circumstances. Rahul ji is unfairly blamed for his loss.

  6. The writer reminds me of a Pundit who certified that my brother in law would be cured of cancer if and when 40 cows were donated. But now maythat dead man Rest In Peace.

  7. whether it is the north east , or Goa, or karnataka, or haryana, or maharashtra, or andhra or any state for that matter except gujarat , mp, and chatisgarh and Dehil. take uttarakhand also. BJP in these states is ntohing but congress. This is how bjp has won. especially north east. whole party was bought . still the author pins the whole blame on one individual. One need to be more objective . there is nothing wrong in calling for democratisation of congress. but when one approaches the whole issue with predisposed opinions about individuals you miss the broader picture. Given the punditry and experience of the author she should have been more objective and should not have allowed her prejudices to shadow her opinion.

    • This is the most poorly written and seems filled with hatred against Rahul Gandhi. Atleast that what it seems.
      No, I am not a Rahul fan, instead one may call me a Modi Bhakt, but still, even I do not think so badly about Rahul.

  8. hahaha. Democracy. MP, Rajasthan, Chatisgarh, Karnataka, and a fight in gujarat which rattled the duo. To pin the congress troubles on one individual is naive. May be. Period of free advice. Have a field day.

  9. Comment:RIP Congress, it has to completely revamp itself. We need young blood, pilot,scindias, deoras to garner support atleast for a decent opposition, forget winning elections, elections are won on false promises,muscle and money power. Today winning candidate s from Cong. have joined BJP. For what ??? just to survive. Electrol reforms need of the hour.

  10. To all the readers of this newspaper, please. please download REHAM KHAN. you will understand Pakistan better.

  11. The hard fact one must accept is that BJP has several assets strategically implanted in Congress. It is not just Rahul Gandhi, BJP has Diggi Raja, Mani Shankar, Surjewala, Vadra, Sonia, Ahmed Patel, to name a few to work for it. As long as these people continue in the Congress in any capacity nobody can dethrone BJP from power.

  12. The gandi dynasty has transformed congress party into small time riyasats led by redundant over the hill lootere leaders like sonua gandi, pc, etc. Priyanka – the so called charismatic clone of indra is even worse than rahul. Not that indra was any better than rahul. As a matter of fact indra was a divisive character and no Durga by any stretch of imagination as an emotional atal said after the indo – puke 1971 war with the liberation of bangladesh. All these jokers like lalu, mulayam, maya memsahab, came into divisive existence because of indra. She caused a lot of damage to india just like rajiv. He was a spineless character. Rahul is a better bet for the congress but alas he is no match to Modi. Congress has to wait for Modi to commit blunders to be able to come back to Power. And i cant see a ray of hope for congress. Now these icon/dynasty believers might wait for vaadraaeen’s kids to come forward. In my view, sonua should take a clean break and let rahul muck it up completely and then perhaps the phoneix will rise from the ashes. LoL

    • All this while until 2014 everyone was rooting for Congress. Now everyone has jumped on the bandwagon including tainted Congressmen and BJP and that man na khaoonga na khane doonga merrily acceptes all these people and trying to accept more by unleashing ED/IT/CBI against opponents to make them fall in line and the powers that be are a silent witness to all such manoeuvres and that is the party with a difference for you. And this way they definitely will usher in a Congress Mukt Bharat for they want no opposition..

  13. Foolish, ok Rahul quit congress and politics , suggest who is the best for congress. 👎🏻👎🏻

  14. Even if Rahul Gandhi quits politics, he will not be able to stop feeling important. That’s built into his DNA. Best for him is to stop behaving like a know-all hands-on doer, for the simple reason that he’s not a know-all guy. Instead of projecting himself as THE face of the Congress, he should bring to the foreground leaders who have a proven track record. No, I don’t mean Salman Khurshid, I mean Anand Sharma, PC Chidambaram, Manmohan Singh etc. Even Kamal Nath. He should give them prominence in public speaking. He is the ONLY guy who goes around giving speeches on behalf of the Congress, so obviously gets recognised as the party’s only face. And that face is not experienced in running the affairs of a country, plus he speaks extempore.

  15. Please, please, I beg of you, do not suggest that Rahul Gandhi should leave. If Rahul Gandhi leaves life will become very difficult for the BJP, winning elections will become chancy.
    Just to make things clear, Rahul is loved by all, Rahul is respected by all, he radiates good will, charisma and much more. If people do not vote for him it does not matter. They still love him.
    Do not criticise Rahul Gandhi. Praise him. Let him lead the Congress party.
    Then and only then will Narinder Modi be able to win election after election.

  16. If people can tolerate antics of current government then Raga can’t be be worse then what we have currently. Congress needs lot of money so that they too can have paid media doing propoganda for them just like BJP.

    • India has a Pariwar problem everywhere. BJP has Sangh Pariwar goons and Congress has Gandhi Pariwar sycophants. 😂😂 Between these two parties the country stands no chance. 😁😁

      Just like an ordinary Indian family with that one relative nobody wants to speak off, but who does not leave you in peace. Enjoy. 😉

  17. It is not just rahul gandhi. Congress’s overall anti-Hindu and pro-pakistan stance is the reason for its demise. Congress is now seen as the biggest enemy of our country.

  18. This is high time to groom Priyanka Ghandhi in place of Rahul. The sooner it is done ,better is the restoration of the damaged image.

    • That wont help either just coz her face resembles her grandmother, people remeber her husband super thief Vadra ji.
      Also the country has rejected Minority appeasement politics, so go and ask ur entire ummah to vote for Congress but still they are not coming back.

  19. One agrees entirely. Lest there be any ambiguity, Rahul includes Priyanka and the next generation, togged out in designer khadi during that road show during the general election. The Gandhis are the glue that holds the Congress together is a proposition that is being comprehensively shredded with each passing day. They are unable to draw political mileage from the worst economic situation in living memory. It is not as if we are living in such a Gilded Age that the Opposition has become superfluous.

    • Congress party still needs Rahul/Gandhi family! Ask any congress leader, and he would tell you Rahul should come back! Even PC Chidambaram was saying Rahul was his leader, as was Shashi Tharoor! They are all free to express their views, and leave the party whenever they wanted. The same with BJP, for whom there is no leader except Modi! The same goes true for other parties, like SP, BSP, DMK, AIADMK, TMC, BJD, etc! The leaders are icons, who can do no wrong! So it is not Rahul/Gandhi family.s fault that the voters ignore the economic situation, and vote for Modi/BJP! The fault lies with the ignorant, immature, voters! The voters are a problem everywhere, not just in India! In America, Trump is a criminal, plain and simple, and yet his core supporters believe he can do no wrong! Winston Churchill had said the best argument against democracy is a talk with a voter in the streets JUST FOR FIVE MINUTES! The founders of America didn’t trust the wisdom of a voter in the street, and came up with collegium that would decide who would become the president of the country, overruling popular vote in it thought fit! In 2016 election the collegium declared Trump president, although his opponent had scored 3 million more popular votes over him! In India you have no such safeguards, so you have voters who would elect a terror charged candidate like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, out of jail on bail on health ground! The voters have also elected 43% candidates with criminal charges against as MPs , with 29% candidates with serous criminal charges against them! What are you the voters doing, stuffing the parliament with criminals? Are Rahul/Gandhi family are responsible for your electing the criminals too? If you continue like this, in 2014 election you would have more than 50% MPs with criminal charges against them in the parliament of the world’s biggest democracy!

  20. The entire Gandhi family must leave politics, and better still, if they leave the country. They made billions in their political journeys .

  21. The Congress Party should get rid of the Gandhi family, not just Rahul, and the pathetic lot of apron string holders, and democratically elect new leaders. The current leadership is helping BJP achievement their goal of a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’.

  22. If Congress is serious for gaining it’s erstwhile prominent position make an alliance with NCP, TNC, BSP, TDP, jds, rjd AND ALL LEFT PARTIES. HANDOVER LEADERSHIP TO PAWAR heading a committee of governance in which Chandrababu naidu be courier of messages from one leader to another. Let Gulabi nabi azad translator to Hindi. Farooq can give how to give life to art.370 unite.ladakh bring back glory to kashmir and be stooge if Pak.and strive to get temporary the prefix to Art.370 removed from it and want nomination of CM POSERS. IT SHOULD BE OROVIDED IN ART.ITCM POST IS ROATATIVE HEREDITARY TO ERSTWHILE RULING FAMILIES.

  23. Rahul Gandhi’s ideas are ahead of time. It is not the asking of a leader to just play to the gallery. His views will resonate once people are able to see through the clutter. Politics and power are not synonymous. What is needed are progressive and sometimes contra views for people to think and decide. Vacations doesn’t mean the person has a feeling of entitlement. May be Rahul is a right person in the wrong place. Wrong place because his views doesn’t seem to resonate with voters. Maybe people don’t believe it will work in this place and not voting is a reflection of this than the idea. Maybe what is pragmatic is also opportunistic. Congress is not able to decide. Maybe a new alternative is required. What will that new alternative be sans the ideas espoused by Rahul. Maybe it will be all similar to party and idealogy in power. The question then would be why bother of the alternative when we have the expert already delivering them satisfactorily to electoral majority in a first past the post system.

  24. It is not about Rahul Gandhi retiring from politics. It is about Congress as a party laying down proper democratic process for electing office bearers. Besides, a politician’s retirement carries no legal sanctity! Rahul can announce his retirement today and yet come back later!! It is like cricketers retirement. There are a couple of examples of retired circketers returning to play again in test matches like Nawab of Pataudi Jr. and Bobby Simpson.

  25. This is a good time for more ‘clean’ and young people to step into politics and form parties with unique ideologies or viewpoints towards important issues that could be set right by their contributions in the parliament. There are a lot of niche areas, such as ‘green’ governance, ‘genuine’ liberal democratic values, ‘health and education’ around which parties can be formed and elections fought. India needs many more Arvind Kejriwals (minus his shoddy style), a mixture of idealism and pragmatism, who are not afraid of garnering mass support, forming teams, fighting elections and giving it a try. This might reduce the space for dynasts like Rahul and potential dynasts from BJP.

    In fact even Muslim youngsters with an inclination to reform their community (another niche) should get into parliament and get progressive legislation passed. Ideally, legislation such as ‘Triple Talaq’ should be coming from representatives of Muslim constituencies. BJP can go only this far and no further on issues concerning Muslims, and Congress is completely inept and steeped in hypocrisy to even attempt to address progressive issues.

  26. Author is highly unfair towards RG. Yes he is a big flop so far in politics, but there are many reasons to it than his persona alone. First and foremost, by the time he assumed charge of the party, thanks to Mrs.Sonia’s leadership , part was already in shambles. In short he inherited a declining empire. Add to his woes, his opponents were ruthless never seen before in Indian politics. Also many accept that Congress is facing a dilemma about the emerging hindutva narrative set by the BJP, but they discount one key factor that first time in Indian history Hindutva became so dominant , and we are not sure how the past congress leaders would have handled the challenge. Considering all these factors, its unfortunate that Rahul Gandhi gets all the blame while the real havoc was caused by Sonia gandhi and her unaccountable NAC. Had Mr. Manmohan singh stood up to NAC and Mrs. sonia’s advisers like he did for nuclear deal, history would have been much much different today. As for the future, congress should wait till modi’s self destruction become more visible to general public. In the mean time congress leadership should realise abusing hindus doesnt mean secularism. They should realise this is india not JNU. Fingers crossed.

  27. It’s not just rahul Gandhi , the Congress must get rid of the entitlement culture completely from its DNA and yes getting rid of junior gandhi will be the first step in a journey of a thousand kms. The BJP too has its share of dynasts , useless hangers on who inherited leadership from their parents but fortunately they are not the face of the party , they are mostly in the background .This is in direct contrast with the congress , the entire face of the party consists of dynasts . India needs an opposition , the indian people need an opposition if not for the hope of things being bettter run by the opposition then atleast for venting out frustration .Nobody , would vote for Rahul Gandhi, even in frustration .

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