The Congress parliamentary strategy group meeting this evening is expected to pick a new party leader in the Lok Sabha. Speculation is rife that Rahul Gandhi might take over that role from Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning next week. Ideally, after the 2019 Lok Sabha election debacle the Gandhis should completely step away from Congress leadership. True, Rahul had resigned as party president after that poor poll performance, but an unhelpful situation has prevailed thereafter with an acute leadership vacuum afflicting the party.
This has reflected in Congress’s poor showing in state assembly polls since last year. Therefore, to arrest this sense of drift Congress must quickly resolve the leadership crisis. However, it is pretty much clear by now that no one aside from the Gandhis is willing to step up to the leadership position. Or the Congress set up is such that a non-Gandhi can’t take over. Either way, it doesn’t help to have nobody in charge on a day-to-day basis.
India needs a strong national opposition party and Congress at the moment simply doesn’t cut it. In fact, it isn’t even in a position to lead an opposition coalition. Hence, in order to end this sense of stupor – particularly if the Gandhis can’t step away – Rahul must once again take over the party leadership mantle. And leading Congress in the Lok Sabha will be a good start. Of course, this will once again allow BJP to level the charge that Congress is a family outfit. But at this point it may just be better to face that charge head on rather than live in fear of it. Rahul must bite the leadership bullet.
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