Rahul’s rise means Patel’s decline

Crafting strategies for the four southern states will be huge challenge

GN Bureau | January 21, 2013



Rahul Gandhi, the newly anointed vice president of the All India Congress Committee, does not want to have a political secretary at this juncture. He, however, will soon take inputs from some confidants including Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada and Deepender Singh Hooda. Insiders at the Congress headquarters are happy that the role of Ahmed Patel and some Raisina Hills occupants like AK Antony, P Chidambaram and even Sushilkumar Shinde is now on the decline. Patel’s future was a matter of speculation especially after the party’s debacle in the Gujarat elections.

Rahul’s war room
The new VP’s headquarters will be at 15 Gurudwara Rakabganj Road in New Delhi. It will also serve as the war room for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul will be regular to this bungalow in the days to come. He is expected to spend at least two to three hours a day to draft strategies for the campaign. Rahul has been meeting senior union ministers in this bungalow. SPG has now taken more security precautions like permanent installations of gadgets.

Immediate challenges
No that emotional speeches and standing ovations are over, the ‘young’ man will have to get down to business. Rahul will face big challenges in formulating policies on Telangana, Karnataka elections, Tamil situation in Sri Lanka and Kuduankulam protests. Political assessment is that Rahul will have a tough time in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. He will therefore have to spend more time on the southern states, according to his close confidants.

DMK ties
Will Rahul as VP of AICC meet DMK leaders, especially M Karunanidhi? The answer is an emphatic no. He has not met Karunanidhi so far. This is a major irritant for the union ministers of DMK. But insiders say that tall Tamil Nadu Congress leaders had advised Rahul to avoid Karunanidhi during his Chennai visits. Sources say Rahul wants to keep away from the shadow of the 2G scam as far as possible.

 

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