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Why the Congress developed cold feet on Rahul

January 17, 2014 16:54 IST

Rahul Gandhi with SoniaMay be it is a belated realisation of reality on part of the Congress. If there is no prospect of forming a government, why announce Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate, says Arun Jaitley.

The Congress party has decided not to have a prime ministerial candidate. Instead their campaign will be led by Rahul Gandhi. The diminishing returns of a dynasty controlling a party are now visible.

In 25 years, a Gandhi has not been the prime minister of this country. India, indeed, is changing. The Gandhis can control a party but not the nation. It was nervousness in 2004 that kept the dynasty away. It is the prospect of defeat staring in the face, which is responsible for the reluctance to announce Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate in 2014.

This was never the original intention. In December, Sonia Gandhi had declared that the prime ministerial candidate would be announced at an appropriate time. In his recent press conference, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh gave testimonials to Rahul Gandhi as prime minister.

Why did the party develop cold feet then? The Congress is losing the will to fight an adversity. This was first visible in the Delhi assembly elections. One poorly attended meeting of Rahul Gandhi and no national leader came to address a meeting in Delhi thereafter.

The nervousness is palpable now. Why puncture your only card in an adverse political environment. There is no fire in the belly left to fight adversity. You can duck a comparison with Narendra Modi particularly when opinion polls indicate a large difference in the personal ratings of the two.

May be it is a belated realisation of reality on part of the Congress. If there is no prospect of forming a government, why announce Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate!

The prime minister has put on a brave front. He proclaimed that victory in 2014 will be Rahul Gandhi’s. Will the defeat also be debited to his account? I doubt. The Congress party functions on the premise that the Gandhis never make a mistake. They never fail. It is the party that fails. It is the advisors who wrongly advise them. There is no accountability of the Gandhis in the party. After all they are the party.

Arun Jaitley