The Indian National Congress (INC) is a family run business which thrives on the efforts of hardworking leaders and party workers at the grass root level. The status quo of the INC as a national party has come under serious threat in the past four years. After losing the 2014 Lok Sabha election, every subsequent state election barring Punjab has brought in more bad news for the Congress leaders. The people of Karnataka have badly humiliated the darling President of the INC, Rahul Gandhi and his political ambitions. The INC’s hopes of winning new states and retaining the old ones have received a major setback under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. His 47 rallies in Karnataka failed to garner the necessary public attention and woo the voters in the Congress’s favor. This is probably the reason why Congress dynasty has decided to overrule his decision in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s favor.
The only seat he has managed to clinch in the past four years is that of the Congress President which was vacated by his mother, Sonia Gandhi. The dissent amongst the Congress cadres over Rahul Gandhi’s leadership had been doing the rounds for the past many years. The first instance of Congress President being overruled from inside his party came after the Karnataka verdict. Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah had openly refuted all claims of pre-poll ties with the Janata Dal (Secular). Verdict of the Karnataka polls dashed all the hopes of the Congress to form a government in the centre. The response was swift from the Congress leadership; they agreed to lend support to the JD(S). According to an article published in ‘One India’, the suggestion for supporting JD(S) might have come from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot were sent in swiftly to Karnataka by the Congress to ensure that a coalition with JD(S) could be swiftly made. Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi were sidelined by ex-Congress President Sonia Gandhi, fearing the repeat of Goa and Manipur elections in Karnataka. All demands made by H.D. Deve Gowda and his son H.D. Kumaraswamy were readily accepted and a Congress delegation led by G Parameshwar was rushed to the Governor’s office in Karnataka. There is nothing new about Congress going back on their words but however, the way in which they have gone back raises a few eyebrows.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has never come out in the forefront politically. She always chose to campaign for her mother and her brother. She has not contested any elections till date out of choice. Many Congress leaders and workers since 2014 have pointed out that she could be better suited for the role of the INC President than Rahul Gandhi. Voices have been raised in her favor from the vote banks of the INC as well. Nonetheless, Priyanka Gandhi has remained stern in her decision not to join active politics, fearing she might overshadow her brother’s career.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has helped Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi countless times to win and retain seats in Amethi and Rae Bareilly. She rallying for the INC to offer the CM seat in Karnataka to H.D. Kuamaraswamy signifies the dire situation of Congress. If the report published is true than Priyanka Gandhi had to convince Rahul Gandhi to alter his decision, in order to save Karnataka from going away from the INC. Sonia Gandhi too approved of the decision taken by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and convinced Rahul Gandhi to agree to it as well. This decision will impact how the INC functions in the years to come. The INC and Rahul Gandhi’s downward trend might be the reason for other family members to take over the reins of the INC in their hands, since the leadership cannot be pass on to a non Nehru-Gandhi family member in the foreseeable future.