New Delhi: The Indian National Congress (INC) on Monday got another president from the Gandhi-Nehru family in the form of Rahul Gandhi, the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and outgoing party president Sonia Gandhi.
He is also the grandson and great grandson of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru respectively.
Since his father Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu; his mother Sonia Gandhi had kept herself away from the active politics despite repeated requests by the Congress leaders. She finally joined active politics in 1997 and became Congress president on March 24, 1998.
Political pundits had for sometime been speculating as to who will carry forward the political legacy of the Gandhi family: Rahul Gandhi or his sister Priyanka Gandhi. Many had seen Priyanka as the likely person to take charge of the party’s affairs as they saw in her the charisma of Indira Gandhi.
With Rahul’s entry in active politics in May 2004 from Amethi, the leadership question was in probability decided.
Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were prominent figures in the Congress campaign for the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, however, won only 22 seats out of the 403 seats.
On September 24, 2007, Rahul was appointed General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). He was also given charge of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India.
Since then, the Congress leaders have been seeing a future prime minister in him. In 2008, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily mentioned “Rahul-as-PM” idea when the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was still abroad.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi retained his Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 370,000 votes. Gandhi was credited with the Congress revival in Uttar Pradesh, where it won 21 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats.
The next big event in his life came when the AICC appointed him as Congress Vice President on January 19, 2013 at its Jaipur conclave.
Accepting the position, Rahul Gandhi told working committee members: “We will work together to transform the country”.
However, the road ahead for Rahul was not smooth. Under his leadership, the Congress suffered its worst ever performance in 2014 general elections and won only 44 seats compared to 206 seats won in the 2009 general election.
Since then, the Congress has not fared well in many state assembly elections.
With Rahul now in the driving seat, will we see a reversal in the 132-year-old Congress party’s political fortunes (ANI)