With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections looming over heads, downpour of speculations is already in place. The opposition needs a PM candidate, and it needs it soon. In this season of names being called out everyday, one particular name has naturally made the highlights- Rahul Gandhi. The Congress President has hinted on several occasions, his willingness to become the next Prime Minister. With questions being shot from every direction, is the ‘Prince’ really ready to become the king? And if yes, will the people take him as one?
Gandhi- the unusual political journey
When Rahul Gandhi first entered politics 13 years ago, he was declared an ‘Italian prince’, unfit to represent the commons. Perhaps understandably so. Gandhi spent his childhood and early youth years staying away from politics, barely in the limelight- or in the country, for that matter. In 2004, when Rahul first marked his entry into Indian politics, he won the Lok Sabha seat of Amethi- his father’s old constituency. Since then, the ‘young’ politician has been on a rollercoaster ride of politics.
From going into oblivion after the 2014 Lok Sabha debacle, to the Twitter active politician with the frisky sarcasm- he has traversed quite a bit. The question is, is it enough? As the 2019 General elections arrive right around the corner, it is time for the wheels to be set into motion. Gandhi is confident that Narendra Modi will not be PM again, but the opposition still needs a strong leader as its face. Will Rahul, with his fresh taste for wit and politics, be able to take down the man with Acche din?
A look at the competition
With doubts over Rahul Gandhi’s candidature still in the air, names like Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati are heating up discussions. In a recent statement, the Samajwadi Party President, Akhilesh Yadav cautiously stayed quiet when asked about backing up Rahul as the PM. Notably, there have been talks about SP considering Yadav as its own candidate for the 2019 elections. As the news of a possible BSP-SP coalition catches heat, Mayawati has come forward as yet another face for the post. BSP believes that being the first Dalit PM, if she wins, she will generate support from all the minority castes.
The air around Mamta Banerjee being a potential candidate is still largely unclear, but she has made her views on the Gandhi candidate more or less evident. When asked to comment on Rahul’s remark of being the next PM, she responded that he was free to think as and what he wished. Banerjee believes that neither BJP nor Congress will succeed in forming an independent, majority government.
While Rahul Gandhi is still largely considered a man living on privilege alone, there is no denying his increasing popularity or his active political image. His following has improved significantly, along with his power to compel. From once being an active face of mockery with his infamous speech disasters, his oratory skills have become more bearable, to say the least. He now makes it a point to express his discontent with the government schemes, having famously critiqued the GST and Demonetization move. Despite all, is he really the best hope Congress has, or is this yet another move to establish the family name? What about names like Shashi Tharoor, Sachin Pilot? The final judgement will only be passed in the months to come.