Congress is all set for a “Game Changer” or is it?
In a post in September last year titled “Indian Politics will not be the same again” this writer has predicted huge change in Indian Politics. 9 months down the line, the scene has become all the more complex and stage is all set for a never before political drama.
The main theme of this play is being scripted and rehearsed at 10 Janpath but almost every political party and player is preparing their own scripts, role plays and characters.
If postponement of Monsoon Session and recent statements by Congress leaders are a clue, then the drama will start from upcoming Cabinet Reshuffle or may be from PM’s interaction with editors happening now (Yes he is speaking today). Chances are today”s interaction of Manmohan Singh with editors can be a curtain raiser for things to come.
This cabinet reshuffle is going to be a major one for sure and Congress would definitely like to use this opportunity to get back its popular support and to show a new and brave face to the people.
It seems that this reshuffle will not be limited to expected changes like removal of Maran or introducing more faces from UP or a TMC Cabinet Minister for Railway, of course all this should be there but there has to be something more.
Sonia and Manmohan have never been seen spending hours together discussing cabinet reshuffle with no other party leader joining them. Such meetings between the two happened thrice over last fortnight.
Last week we saw Digvijay talking about need for a young PM and this week it was Chidambaram almost repeating Diggy. Has it ever happened before when PC and Diggy have shared common thoughts on any issue, that too publicly?
Keeping in mind the current political realities of UP, ever rising inflation, civil society uprising against corruption and recently held election results, Congress badly need a “Game Changer” and it has no one else but its very own Gandhi Family to rely upon.
Stage is all set for Rahul to take over as PM, the question is how soon will it happen? Are we going to see that happening this week, this month or later….it seems that its a now or never situation for the Prince of Congress and most Congress leaders are able to read this writing on the wall.
Why its Now or Never for Rahul Gandhi
Rahul is “PM-Congress is waiting for” for last eight years or more, according to wikipedia, some senior Congress leaders think that his time has already come and gone, however majority of Congress cadre is patiently waiting for their Prince Charming to take over.
Rahul Gandhi has taken up the responsibility of Party’s revival in Uttar Pardesh and his actions and statements on Bhatta Parsual shows the desperation. Any neutral analysis of current political reality in Uttar Pradesh will give Congress at best third place if today we have elections in this politically most important state. The task before Rahul is to take Congress from this third place to First place, come what may. Option of failure is not there because country and most importantly congress workers will judge Rahul Gandhi from the outcome of UP elections.
In spite of whatever Rahul Gandhi does, Congress can not do it alone in UP with current political scenario at the center. Things need to be changed and need to be changed very fast.
What if Congress continues with current political scenario and loses in UP next year, that will put a big question mark on Rahul’s leadership and no one would like to take that risk in Congress, not even Rahul himself. He himself has taken this challenge upon himself and is now getting desperate to justify it.
Outside UP also, political situation is demanding a “game changer” from Congress. Civil Society uprising fueled by media is already taking its toll, proceedings in Supreme Court on 2G scam also showing chances of huge further embarrassments for the party in near future.
Immediate Loksabha elections will suit both Mamta Bannerji and Jayalalitha and Jaya has almost declared her intention in her interview to Times Now day before yesterday.
With upcoming elections in UP, Congress can not rely upon Mayawati or Mulayam Singh for continued support as they have nothing to lose now, they anyway have to go for election in UP. And if we look at responses of Parties in PAC meeting headed by BJP leader MM Joshi there is a sudden change from yesterday, it is very clear that Congress can not be sure of BSP support in Parliament anymore.
Only major party that Congress can be assure of in case of a vote count in Parliament is DMK, DMK can not afford to go for election now, same is true for Lalu and Paswan but they don’t matter much in terms of numbers in Parliament. NCP is reliable for now but Sharad Pawar is one of the most unpredictable politician and even with his support Congress is far away from the magic figure of 272 without the big three ( TMC, BSP, SP). Left parties do not want Loksabha elections at this moment but they will not support Congress during a floor test, it is difficult to speculate what would be their strategy in such a scenario.
So is country heading for a loksabha election? Most probably yes by the early next year.
But the real question is can Congress afford an Loksabha Election now? The answer is no, with clear possible losses in Andhra, Rajasthan and Delhi and no new gains in any other state, Congress may not be able to redo the magic of 2009.
But age old Congressi leaders know how things can be changed in politics and it is all the more easy when you have a “still unused” young leader with a “Gandhi” surname.
What are the options before Congress? Both Congress and Rahul know that they have to go all out to deal with current political crisis, the only dilemma they are facing is about timing of this change. Developments over Last fortnight shows that Top Leadership of Party is now more clear about their plans, the sudden decisiveness (along with rudeness and insensitive attitude) in dealing with Ramdev and Anna, or fuel price rise clearly shows that they are all ready with some well laid out plans.
What if Congress decide to go all out for Leadership Change in the govt and makes Rahul Gandhi PM, will it change fortunes for this age old party? Well the answer is Yes, at least for the time being.
Rahul as PM will definitely boost its chances in UP where with some symbolic decisions and gestures, he can bring back the traditional Gandhi family voters. Rahul as PM will be a challenge to BJP which is busy dealing with its own leadership crisis and infighting. Some quick decisions on Women Reservation Bill, Food Security, Minority Rights and Lokpal by Rahul Gandhi may change the mood of the nation and Congress may get the confidence needed to face the Loksabha Elections. Also any party particularly BJP would not like to get the blame for destabilizing the Central Govt headed by Rahul in its first year, it will be hard to justify that to the people.
Today while Manmohan Singh is interacting with editors justifying himself as PM, we may get a clue about possible direction of change. Monsoon has reached Delhi and next two-three months are not going to be a dull period, there will be clouds, rains, lightening and even thunderstorms. Time will tell whether all this will happen behind the political walls or mud sledging will happen all out in public.
The mood in Party, the political reality and the signals from top leaders are all indicating a change, however declaring Congress as so predictable is like underestimating their political skills and history, they may come out with something entirely different and unexpected.