Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s doubts on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's political future notwithstanding, senior Congress leaders claim that Gandhi's “reforms agenda” will expand in the party irrespective of the election results.
While Congress president Sonia Gandhi is unlikely to relinquish the post after the polls, party insiders predict Rahul will assume a larger responsibility in the party’s affairs.
"Even if we lose this election, there would be no going back on the structural reforms championed by Rahul. The US-style primaries to select candidates is the only way forward for the party and it will expand in the coming days,” said party’s poll coordinator and Union minister Jairam Ramesh.
For the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had initiated the primaries in 15 constituencies.
A key aide of the Congress president added: "We do not expect Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra to assume any formal position in the party after the polls. Rahul will certainly be seen handling more party affairs though Sonia will stay on as the chief."
In his regular attacks on the Congress and referring to the UPA government as “maa-bete ki Sarkar”, Modi has maintained that Rahul faces an uncertain political future. In Amethi on Monday, Modi took potshots at the Gandhi family, alleging that Sonia was worried as her son had not yet settled down in his career.
Returning the fire, Ramesh said, "Modi will not decide who leads the Congress. Modi's leadership is not even accepted by his own colleagues."
In the Rajya Sabha, the Congress already has a back-up plan in case it loses the elections. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unlikely to be named as the Leader of the Opposition. Former chief minister and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh may lead the opposition in the Upper House.