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Now is the time for Rahul Gandhi to implement his ideas in Congress

A strong votary of intra-party democracy, Rahul Gandhi after being appointed as the party vice-president in 2013 had vowed to end certain anomalies in its functioning. But four years later, the goal remains far from being achieved.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2017 22:49 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Congress president,Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting at the party headquarters in New Delhi.(AFP Photo)

When he took the political plunge, Rahul Gandhi’s foremost ambition was to change the way Congress did its business. With his elevation as party chief barely weeks away, he will get a second chance to fulfil his goal.

A strong votary of intra-party democracy, Rahul after being appointed as the party vice-president in 2013 had vowed to end certain anomalies in its functioning. But four years later, the goal remains far from being achieved.

While the nomination culture at all levels in the Congress is yet to be eliminated, “paratroopers and outsiders” continue to get party tickets despite his strong resolve that loyalists will not be overlooked.

Rahul was appointed as a Congress general secretary in 2007 three years after he joined politics with a victory in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi. He had then initiated a democratisation process in the Youth Congress to end the “nomination culture” and open its doors to those who may otherwise find it difficult to join politics. But young leaders with political patronage and lineage were the major beneficiaries of the internal elections in which the use of money and muscle power became rampant. Eventually, he went back to the nomination process.

Similarly, he had to scrap his another pet project of holding US-style primaries to pick party candidates due to strong opposition within.

Rahul has often faced criticism for his indecisiveness. Consultations for appointing new party chiefs in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Haryana have been going on for months now but he is yet to take a call. At the same time, he is known for going against the party line if unconvinced about a particular decision. His rubbishing a cabinet decision publicly in 2013 saw the UPA government withdrawing its ordinance that could have enabled the convicted lawmakers to contest polls.

Similarly in 2010, Rahul came out in support of tribals and opposed bauxite mining in Odisha’s Niyamgiri hills and Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district even at the cost of antagonising certain corporate entities.

Also, the recent organisational changes suggested that Rahul wants to strike a fine balance between the GenNext and the old guard. He has repeatedly reassured the anxious old guard that he would take them along in his quest to make the Congress a powerful instrument of change and more accessible to both youngsters and experienced.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 22:49 IST