Rahul Gandhi has a heavy legacy to carry as CWC paves way for him as Congress president

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) paved the way for elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president. Here are the challenges he faces as he prepares to take over party’s reins.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2017 21:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress party,Congres president,Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi at the Congress Working Committee meeting at 10 Janpath in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi faces several challenges to strengthen the party as he prepares to take over its reins.

The Congress will elect a new president next month, an official said Monday, amid growing speculation Gandhi will take over from his 70-year-old mother as its leader.

The 47-year-old leader, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather all served as prime minister, was elected vice president of the Congress in 2013 and has long been mother Sonia Gandhi’s presumed successor.

Gandhi has long had the reputation of a reluctant leader, although some analysts say he has displayed greater political acumen since the 2014 election defeat.

If he wins the December 16 vote for party president, he will have to ensure a smooth generational transition in the 131-year-old party, strike a right balance between young leaders and the old guard in the next organisational reshuffle. And also try to restore trust and confidence among leaders of all ages.

He has to lead from the front to galvanise the Congress cadre struggling to recover after a series of electoral setbacks.

Reviving the party in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha, where the Congress lost its political space over the years, is another major challenge for him.

He needs to end factionalism in states as the infighting is taking a heavy toll on his revival plans.

It will be essential for him to make the Congress a fighting machine once again and turn the party into an aggressive Opposition that is able to corner the BJP-led NDA government on critical issues.

Reconnecting with the people and the grassroots by conducting a mass contact programme across the country has been on his agenda for long and needs to be implemented.

With around 16 months remaining for the next Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi has to take a call on alliances in different states and prevent a division of the Opposition vote that could help the BJP.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 20:59 IST