The seasoned Congress leaders should have contested this election. But, that was not to be
GN Bureau | December 4, 2017
The election for the Congress presidentship turned out to be a stroll in the park for Rahul Gandhi as nobody else filed nomination papers.
It is not that the Congress doesn’t have leaders who could have taken up that role. But, those leaders shied away from contesting the party election and gave a walkover to Rahul Gandhi, 47.
The five or six leaders who could have given a challenge to Rahul Gandhi, but didn’t, include Mallikarjun Kharge, the Karnataka Congress leader who is the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.
Then there is Ghulam Nabi Azad who is now the leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha. A former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, he should have been in the reckoning since he has political as well as administrative experience.
The well-connected Kamal Nath is one of the longest serving parliamentarians. He could have been considered.
The erudite Shashi Tharoor, who could well have been the UN secretary general if the US had extended support, should have thrown his hat in the ring.
Among the young turks, there is Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia. Both of them would have bought requisite energy if they had got an opportunity.
However, all this was not to be and Rahul Gandhi became the Congress president without any fight.
He will take over as the party chief from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has led the party since 1998, a good 19 years.
The changeover takes place amidst bitter charges from the Bharatiya Janata Party that the Congress doesn’t have internal democracy and it is a reflection of dynastic politics. Also, Rahul Gandhi is taking up the new role just ahead of the crucial two-phase Gujarat elections.
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