Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi shocked everyone in the previous elections by abdicating from her responsibilities and giving up the Prime Ministerial candidature. Her opponents considered it their victory (remember Sushma Swaraj crying hoarse over the fact that the country would be ruled by a candidate of Italian descent?) when actually it was a whack on the face of the largest democracy in the world. Ten years later, the repercussions of the whack are still visible – from the party’s sagging prospects of a victory in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls to an equally drooping economy.
Would this have been any better had the Congress president led from the front instead of micro-managing its operations from behind the curtains? Given the maturity she has acquired over time, we have firm reasons to believe so. Although an unofficial handover of power has gradually been in progress since the last couple of years, her undisputed hold over the party seems to have not been transferred. Right from the beginning, she has projected herself as the link between Rahul and her husband, late Rajiv Gandhi refusing to take centrestage. In fact we believe, the situation would have been slightly better had she taken over the reins directly instead of being a mediator.
Rahul, all of 42 years, is by far an immature, ignorant and disinterested prime ministerial candidate for the Congress to field. For a party that thrives on its illustrious history, the young Gandhi scion is a walking-talking disaster with his radical views that often cause a case of foot-in-the-mouth for his party members. Time and again, Mrs Gandhi has tried to rein in her son’s slightly (an understatement, if any) un-political ways, but to no avail.
On the other hand, we have our incumbent silent Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh who refuses to have a mind of his own. As noble his intentions and as keen his financial acumen may be, he has certainly shown us that not all knowledgeable and well-read people make for great statesmen. Especially, in a country like India where the power play of dynasties, sects, and religions come into play. It truly takes a mastermind to manage the running of this country.
This is by no means an endorsement, for Gandhi or the Congress, for those who have come to that conclusion. Like pretty much everyone else in the country, we have been witnesses to the scams that the members of the first family (and we aren’t talking about Dr Singh here) so kindly are a part of, the volte face of the party as soon as the elections are over (and it’s been twice already!) and lastly, the sheer disinterest towards the commoners of the country (except during the poll season… At which point, everyone is interested in the AamAadmi).
By no means do we conclude that she would have been a better ruler, but by the very fact that she still holds sway despite the sweeping in of the younger generation into the party fold we definitely do claim this – she would have been a better face for the Congress than our very own Dr Singh.