rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » VOTE: Who should be the Congress's PM candidate?

VOTE: Who should be the Congress's PM candidate?

Last updated on: December 12, 2013 08:36 IST

VOTE: Who should be the Congress's PM candidate?

     Next

Next

What is India’s favourite question of the moment?

No, it is not who will win Bigg Boss 7!!

It is, who will be the Congress party’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections?

Like with American conspiracy theorists asking whether Harvey Lee Oswald did really kill President Kennedy, no one knows for sure but everyone has a theory about it!

With the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi breathing down the Congress’s neck, all eyes are on the man, or woman, who will be chosen to lead the grand old party in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

When quizzed about it earlier this week, party president Sonia Gandhi acted coy, saying, “People need not worry as, at an opportune time, the name of the prime ministerial candidate will be announced”.

But who could it be? Unable to wait, we decided to draw up our very own short-list of potential candidates.

We are giving YOU, our dear readers, a chance to choose the Congress’s PM candidate.

So go through the slideshow and cast your vote in favour of the candidate who, according to you, will be capable of reversing the fortunes of the beleaguered party.

Who knows, maybe our poll, and your choices, will give the Congress 'High Command' something to think about!

Click on NEXT to select the Congress’s PM candidate…


Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi


     Next

Rahul Gandhi

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

He may just turn out to be the man who always remained the prime-minister-in-waiting but never became the PM.

The Congress’s recent disastrous performance in the assembly poll in four states has forced even the most sycophantic member of the party to question whether Gandhi has it in him to lead a nation of 1.2 billion people.

The most ardent believers of the Nehru-Gandhi legacy were left scratching their heads when Gandhi told media personnel, “I will change the party in ways you cannot even imagine”.

But he still remains the most, if not the only, obvious choice for the post of Congress’s prime ministerial candidate.

And despite widespread scepticism about whether Gandhi himself understands what he is talking about (Escape Velocity of Jupiter, anyone?), there is no dearth of fawning Congressmen who will gladly nominate him for the coveted post.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...


Image: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi


Prev     Next

Sushil Kumar Shinde

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

There seems to be an unwritten code for senior Congress leaders from Maharashtra: Prove your unflinching loyalty to the Gandhi family and one day you may just be anointed the Union home minister of the country.

That the said leader may bumble his way through the job, which incidentally, involves taking care of matters such as national security, is immaterial.

So we had Shivraj Patil, who sleepwalked through his tenure and is best remembered for changing his attire several times during the 26/11 terror attack.

And now we have Sushil Kumar Shinde.

But truth be told -- the fact that Shinde chose to attend a filmi function on the day of a terror strike in Patna, or that he refused to cut short a holiday in the United States in spite of a debilitating Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh -- is not that worrying.

A bigger matter of concern is that the Congress could be mulling making Shinde, its tallest Dalit leader really, its PM candidate.

Shudder, shudder.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...




Prev     Next

Nandan Nilekani

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Speculation has been rife for quite some time that the Congress may field Nandan Nilekani to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Bengaluru. 

Bengaluru, the I-T capital of India, is likely to welcome Nilekani with open arms. He is, after all, the co-founder of software giant Infosys and one of the men responsible for India’s emergence as a technological superpower.

But will the rest of India accept Nilekani with the same fervour?

On the brighter side, Nilekani is already a billionaire and will, hopefully, not be tempted to earn some extra cash.

He is also someone an entirely new generation of voters -- upwardly mobile, ambitious and talented -- can look up to.

On the flipside, Nilekani still seems to miles away from making a formal entry into politics and has absolutely no mass support whatsoever.

Naysayers are bound to bring up the massive roadblocks his much-hyped project -- the Unique Identification Authority of India -- has run into since its inception.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...




Prev     Next

P Chidambaram

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

If administrative experience and political acumen were the only prerequisites for being nominated as the Congress’s PM candidate, Chidambaram would have nailed it a long time ago.

The Union finance minister, once a well-known corporate lawyer, has also served in the home ministry and the commerce ministry.

Restrained yet sharp, the articulate Chidambaram is often saddled with the job of defending/justifying/clarifying the blustering declarations made by party colleagues like Digvijaya Singh and Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Though he has tried to distance himself publicly from impropriety of any kind, PC has attracted his fair share of controversies, the latest being over the scam-ridden Saradha chit fund in Bengal.

And who can forget that minor controversy called the 2G spectrum scam, which took place on Chidambaram’s watch?

Click on NEXT to select the Congress’s PM candidate…




Prev     Next

Dr Manmohan Singh

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It will be safe to assume that if Manmohan Singh is named the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, no one will be more surprised than the premier himself.

As the two-term PM of the ruling UPA-II, Dr Singh has probably had the worst ever tenure in the history of Indian politics.

His government has battled one corruption scam after another, long-time allies have deserted him like rats leaving a sinking ship, the Rupee has gone into a free fall, the stock market has been cheerless, prices of everyday commodities have left everyone breathless and inflation has become one of the most used words of the year.

But the Congress may just spring the biggest surprise of 2014 by nominating the tried-and-tested PM (who turned 80 this year, by the way) for a third shot at the post.

Let us not forget that the PM himself, while replying to a query by Rediff.com, had not ruled out such a possibility.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...




Prev     Next

Digvijaya Singh

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

“If it’s a dry news day, trust Digvijaya Singh to make it exciting”.

This rather dry, and accurate, observation has been made by many a political journalist. For the Congress general secretary can always be trusted to regale media personnel with explosive quotes on issues ranging from the Babri Masjid demolition to the Ishrat Jahan encounter.

Chances of this king of hyperbole being named the Congress’s PM candidate may seem remote.

But don’t forget that unlike many other contenders, Digvijaya has actual administrative experience -- he has served as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh twice.

Also, when he is not shamelessly pandering to the minority community or taking potshots at his favourite target Narendra Modi, Digvijaya is believed to be something of a confidant and mentor to Rahul Gandhi.

If his protégé fails to live up to expectations, the mentor may just have to step in and show him how it is done.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...




Prev     Next

Kumari Selja

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

She had served as the minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation in the United Progressive Alliance government’s first term. She is currently the Union minister for social justice and empowerment.

But Kumari Selja’s biggest claim to fame in her tenure as a ‘crutch’ for Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

In August this year, Gandhi was forced to leave an ongoing Parliament session and get admitted to Delhi’s AIIMS Hospital after she complained of chest pain.

In a widely-circulated photograph, a tottering Gandhi was seen holding on to Kumari Selja, who helped her walk down the steps of Parliament House all the way to her car, and then accompanied the Congress president to the hospital.

It is evident that Kumari Selja meets the foremost criterion for being nominated the Congress’s PM candidate: She is part of the Gandhi family’s inner coterie.

The Congress leader from Haryana also happens to be a Dalit. She just might be what the party needs to counter the threat posed by Modi, a leader from the Other Backward Classes.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...


Image: Kumari Selja


Prev     Next

Meira Kumar

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Her heart-felt pleading of ‘baith jaiye, pleeeeaaaaase baith jaiye’ (sit down please), is, some times, the only sane note in a Lok Sabha going absolutely bonkers.

Meira Kumar’s stint as the Speaker of the most volatile, and unproductive, Lok Sabha in history has been anything but easy. She has faced more adjournments and political showdowns than any of her predecessors.

But Meira Kumarhas handled the challenges of her job with remarkable poise. She never loses her temper at the tantrums thrown by members of Parliament, she is quick to admonish those who are disrespectful and she tries her best to be fair to members of all parties.

Maybe she can, with the beatific smile that she wears almost permanently, run a coalition government comprising demanding ministers and errant allies. How much more difficult can it be than managing daily Lok Sabha proceedings where parliamentarians often behave like sulking school children?

Oh, and did we mention that she is also a Dalit leader? Meira Kumar, for those who woke up late, is the daughter of one of the tallest Dalit leaders of the country, Babu Jagjivan Ram. 

Move on to the next slide and register your votes on the last page of the slideshow...




Prev     Next

Priyanka Gandhi

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It is widely known that most Congressmen had wanted Priyanka, not Rahul, to take up the mantle of the party’s leadership from their mother Sonia Gandhi.

It is not difficult to see why.

Not only is Priyanka visibly more comfortable in the political limelight than her brother, she also seems to have inherited the effortless charisma and popular appeal of her grandmother Indira Gandhi.

But the young Ms Gandhi broke many a heart (of Congressmen and others) when she spurned their offers to settle for a life of low-key domesticity with husband Robert Vadra.

Now, as the Congress faces its worst political crisis in years, Priyanka may just be asked to take matters into her own hands.

Is it unlikely? Yes.

But is it possible? Very much so.

Move on to the next slide and register your votes...




Prev     Next

VOTE: Who should be the Congress's PM candidate?

Prev     More




Prev     More