For Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, his road ahead for 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' is clear as he has taken up a humongous walkathon across the states in view of strengthening the party's base and building strong opposition against the BJP. However, that strong opposition won't get fulfilled unless the Congress is led by a national leader who is elected with unanimous support and solidarity.
The road ahead for Rahul Gandhi in the party's national leadership is vague, filled with pressure and perplexions. The Congress party is marching towards electing a new national president and while the Gandhis tend to step aside from enjoying a direct command, the party is witnessing a wave of pressure from across the nation urging Rahul Gandhi to take the baton from where he left.
As the election is getting close with prevailing debate within the party over the eligible voters, the pressure is mounting for Rahul Gandhi to become the national president. Rahul Gandhi has been receiving a rousing welcome during his yatra in several states and the Congress leaders who queue in to support him are of the opinion that he must start leading the party after completing the yatra, which would have yielded him a strong and renewed support from young cadres by the time he ends it.
In the midst of a tour that is refreshing the cadres, Rahul Gandhi is in confusion about whether or not to take the leadership baton, that on one hand would keep the tag of 'heir politics' in the party and on the other hand would significantly unite the divided factions. The process of electing the new Congress president will begin on September 22 and the elections will be held on October 17, had the party received more nominations by the last date of September 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the results will be announced on October 19.
Though the process is just days away from getting commenced, there is no sign from Rahul Gandhi that he is prepared to take over the role from his mother Sonia Gandhi. With the view to shoulder more pressure on him, several Congress units in the states are adopting resolutions to make Rahul Gandhi the national president of the party again.
According to reports, the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) on Sunday passed a unanimous resolution to make Rahul Gandhi the national president of the Congress party. Earlier on Saturday, the Congress unit of Rajasthan passed a similar resolution backing Rahul Gandhi for the post of president. The resolution from Rajasthan has drawn huge attention as it has come when it has been speculated that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will run for the party's president.
On Sunday, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that he moved the resolution of making Rahul Gandhi the next leader during a meeting with the party's delegates. By citing that Chhattisgarh has become the second state to pass such a resolution, Baghel pressed that the Congress units in several states will pass a similar resolution in the coming days to elevate Rahul Gandhi as the next president.
Baghel further said that if such resolutions are received, Rahul Gandhi should think about taking the president post again. He said Rahul Gandhi would respect the sentiments of all Congress workers and agree to the proposal. These resolutions were backed by senior leaders in the respective states and when it has been reported that there would be a race between Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath for the apex post, both of them have come in support of such resolutions as they expressed their desire to work in their respective states.
In the midst of growing debates, several veteran Congress leaders have also stressed that if Rahul Gandhi refuses to become the party's president, the Gandhi family would hold a position of pre-eminence in the party. On Sunday, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram expressed his belief that Rahul Gandhi may change his mind. He asserted that Rahul Gandhi will have a preeminent place in the party irrespective of whether he is president as he is the acknowledged leader.
In an interview with PTI, Chidambaram ruled out the controversy over the fairness and transparency of the party's presidential polls and said, "Rahul Gandhi is the acknowledged leader of the rank and file of the party. They want him to be the president of the party. So far, he has declined. He may change his mind." The former Union Finance Minister said if Rahul Gandhi is elected Congress president, he will be both leader and president, but if he is not, he will always have a preeminent place in the party."
What's in the mind of Rahul Gandhi?
Earlier this month, Rahul Gandhi said that he has made his decision on whether he would take the baton. However, he hasn't revealed his plans and asserted that he would share the reasons if he decides to stay off from taking over the presidency. Responding to a question of whether he would become the Congress president, he said, "Whether I become president or not, this will become very clear when the presidential elections of the Congress party take place."
He was addressing a press conference in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu while commencing his Bharat Jodo Yatra. Rahul Gandhi further said, "Wait till that time and when that time comes, you will see, and if I don't stand, you can ask me 'why didn't you stand' and I will answer the question for you." By citing that he has very clearly decided on what he is going to do, Rahul Gandhi affirmed, "There is no confusion in my mind at all."