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VOTE: Rahul Gandhi's best avatar!

Last updated on: January 22, 2013 18:34 IST

VOTE: Rahul Gandhi's best avatar!

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He is India's Prince-in-waiting and arguably the country's most eligible bachelor. We bring you Rahul Gandhi's evolution over the years. Vote for the look you like the most.

Like him or not, Rahul Gandhi is here to stay. The Gandhi scion who was over the weekend, elevated to the number two position in the Congress party after being appointed its Vice President will be the next Prime Minister of India should his party win the elections.

The 42-year-old Gandhi has been under the media scanner for the longest time. Often being touted as the heir apparent to the Congress legacy, his every move is deconstructed and analysed as is what he wears and how he carries himself.

Much like his father, Gandhi is often described as a reluctant politician. Even so, India's most eligible bachelor, comes across as being aware of how he appears in public... or at least has been over the last few years.

While there is little he can experiment sartorially -- a white kurta is staple for his public appearances -- we couldn't help notice that he experiments considerably with his hair, making it a point to touch his crop every now and then.

We take you through his looks over the years. Vote for the one you love the most.

First up is this photograph dating back to 1998 as he attended a campaign along with his mother Sonia Gandhi on behalf of the Congress Party. Still a novice to public appearances, this is Rahul in his late 20s, his hair unkempt and sidelocks untrimmed.

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Photographs: Savita Kirloskar/Reuters

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Taken over half a decade after the previous photograph, this one shows Rahul Gandhi in the height of New Delhi winter on January 29, 2004 as he attends the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony that marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations. Clad in a turtle neck tee and a jacket, Gandhi looks more confident of himself, his hair shorter but more in control and a day-old stubble.

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Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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A year later in May 2005, a clean-shaven Rahul, seemingly playing out the part of Mr Goody-Two-Shoes, his hairline showing hints of receeding stands alongside his mother, Sonia Gandhi during election process for the post of the party's chief in New Delhi.

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Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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Few months later, in August, Gandhi puts on a rare appearance in western formals complete with the classic white shirt as he returns from his two-day official visit to Afghanistan. Note that his sideburns are gone and though he's seemingly not had a haircut since the previous picture, his hair parted to the side, lending him a more formal, almost grown-up look.

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Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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Two years later, in 2007, as he walks alongside his mother Sonia Gandhi, Rahul's hair looks tad unkempt even has he had been sporting the clean-shaven look for a while now. As he poses for this picture on the day he was named as one of the general-secretaries of the Congress party, the bit that caught our eye were his sideburns (again), that bear a slight albeit striking resemblance to his uncle, the late Sanjay Gandhi who sported thick sidelocks.

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Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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Circa 2008, Rahul Gandhi now in his late 30s, crow's feet around his eyes. Signs of his receeding hairline are now prominently visible as he goes for a close crop. The Gandhi genes however also make him look younger than he is, the dimple only adding to his charm as he poses for a picture in Mohali, Punjab.

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Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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January 2009, Rahul Gandhi waves to his party supporters during a public rally in Ahmedabad. The stubble that has so far been missing makes a comeback. It lends him an easy-going look and makes him seem approchable, almost aam aadmi-like. In the months that followed, the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress party formed the government making Dr Manmohan Singh the first prime minister since Pt Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term.

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Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters

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Far more confident than the young boy we saw in 1998, Rahul Gandhi in 2010 making a point at a press conference in Bhopal. Seen as a reformist, Gandhi was by now slowly but surely stepping out of the shadows. As a head of Congress' youth wing, he had promised to overhaul the party with young and fresh cadres.

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Photographs: Raj Patidar/Reuters

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Gone are the days of unkempt stubbles and hair. At the Nehru memorial lecture in New Delhi in November 2012 Rahul Gandhi has evidently trimmed both and looks groomed to be the next national leader.

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Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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And finally, last weekend, as he was anointed party vice-president at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting in Jaipur, Rahul Gandhi looks set to play the part of the next Prime Minister of India, should his party win the next general elections. The beard is gone, the hair parted to a side, as the Prince-in-waiting finally steps up, his finger raised, to lead the party into what will most likely be the most difficult battle in a decade.

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Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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