Tak­ing the Reins

Southasia - - Briefing -

Af­ter much de­lay and spec­u­la­tion, the In­dian Na­tional Congress has fi­nally ap­pointed Rahul Gandhi as its Vice Pres­i­dent. While de­liv­er­ing his speech for the first time in his new role, Gandhi chose to ad­dress the 1,200 party del­e­gates in Hindi, in an at­tempt to reach out to the youth of In­dia. Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh was also part of the cer­e­mony, which sig­ni­fied the young Gandhi’s rise to the power ech­e­lons of the In­dian Congress. With elec­tions on the hori­zon, the party is hope­ful to por­tray Rahul as the main can­di­date for the post of prime min­is­ter. Although el­e­vat­ing his sta­tus to VP is a leap ahead for the Gandhi fam­ily, po- lit­i­cal an­a­lysts ar­gue that this is a mere for­mal­ity. In ad­di­tion, Gandhi will also pro­vide an ad­van­tage to his party in the state elec­tions, sched­uled to take place in the north­east states and in Kar­nataka. Fur­ther­more, his as­cent as the sec­ond in com­mand of the party will bring him face-to-face with Narenda Modi, a con­tentious leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, in the 2014 elec­tions.

How­ever, Rahul’s ap­point­ment comes dur­ing test­ing times for the Congress Party, which is in­tro­duc­ing re­forms to re­vive the coun­try’s de­clin­ing econ­omy. More­over, the party is cop­ing with the pub­lic out­rage caused by the gang rape and mur­der of a stu­dent in New Delhi in De­cem­ber. With much loom­ing in the back­ground, the In­dian Na­tional Congress also faces an in­ter­nal cri­sis with po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights de­bat­ing Rahul Gandhi’s even­tual rise to the throne of the In­dian Congress.

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