For all those in the media and the great beyond who have been convinced that for Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the UP elections is the 'make-it or break-it' contest for his anointment as prime minister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has doused some cold water on their faces. The Congress campaigner spoke in as clear terms as possible when she told journos that becoming PM was not the "central focus" of his brother's politics. She added that the country had "an extremely good prime minister" and the question of Mr Gandhi taking over at any point during Manmohan Singh's tenure "doesn't arise at the moment". This isn't a statement either made in haste, nor is it something that will be forgotten in case Ms Gandhi Vadra's words don't match up to soon-to-be reality. In such circumstances, we do suggest that the most rational thing to do is to believe her — a sentiment echoed by her brother before but probably to no avail.
It is difficult for most people, journalists included, to believe that Mr Gandhi is taking a different path from the one usually thought to be the default one for anyone in the Nehru-Gandhi family. Some would even see his focus on development during his campaigning in the Great 2012 UP Battle as a cosmetic device to cover his alleged real gameplan: getting a certification to rule from Delhi. But let's just ask one question: how would you, if you were Rahul Gandhi, go about convincing people that you are serious about strengthening the Congress in UP and bringing real changes in the state? Yes, quite. You would have behaved pretty much the way Mr Gandhi has been throughout his campaigning stint.
But conspiracy theories would not be alluring if not for those who look at something and opt for the most fanciful of options. So to them, regardless of whether Mr Gandhi or Ms Gandhi Vadra state that there is no plan to have a new prime minister before now and 2014, every word Rahul Gandhi says will point to his tip-toeing towards PMship. One day, if indeed Mr Gandhi, takes on this post, these other pundits will look very pleased with themselves and tell this pundit, 'See, we told you so.' Sigh.