Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can Priyanka take on Narendra Modi?

Congress has started giving signals that it can sacrifice “Prince – Rahul “ to hold the forte in Delhi.  The media buzz says that the party is planning to make Princess Priyanka as  its face to take on Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi and other regional parties.
Courtesy :  The Hindu

A section in the party doubts Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's ability to lead the party in a high decibel campaign, but fear to say in open. This group has been worried about the lack of courage Rahul Gandhi has to lead from the front  and  fluctuations in his behaviour. Because of this party workers have lost hopes for the coming election. A group of congress party leaders like Kapil Sibbal and Rashid Alvi, who were first to appreciate the move,  feel that Priyanka's entry will do the same effect to Congress as has NaMo factor did to BJP.

The speculations began after Priyanka, along with her brother and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi held a closed door meeting with party workers in Amethi, in September. She in past has been campaigning in Amethi and Raebareli for her brother and mother respectively.

She had successfully campaigned for the Congress in Bellary in 1999 when was just 26 years of age. Her grace and looks like Indira Gandhi had lots of asset value to the Congress then. Same may not hold true today. Now, she carries load of “Vadra” surname. A name that raises many eyebrows due to defame land deals. This can become a liability on the congress.

But  Sonia has hinted to retire in 2016 from active politics. Dynastic seat of Raebarelly can not be given outside the family. Hence choice is little, her entry into national politics is certain. Question can be , now or after two years?

The approach can be as some media reports say, she can be tried in Madhya Pradesh.  Can address a rally there. If response is favourable it can be stretched to other states going for poll this year. Otherwise Priyanka will continue to focus on Uttar Pradesh for the general elections due next year.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s emotion laden campaign with her children during the last  UP Assembly elections did not gain any advantage to the party. The law of diminishing returns applies  to emotions. She will have to do a lots of home work to get content in appeal where Rahul goofs up. She may attract crowds in some parts of the country. It is an advantage if crowd there should return home with a ray of hope  and not with echo of the stale rotten slogans.

Congress party this time is on a weaker wicket. All around image of corruption, mismanagement, inflation and poor economic scenario. It will not be easy for her to overturn Anti-incumbency and image of ineffective leadership.

But all these negative factors are for Rahul Gandhi too. Only advantage Priyanka might have is that voters are  not disillusioned with her so far. But she lacks the credentials what Narendra Modi has.  The party will not take risk of announcing her as a prime ministerial candidate. She will remain sister of a possible prime ministerial candidate. Unlike Rahul Gandhi, she is not even an MP.  She has no experience of running anything. Modi is elected chief minister of  a state for past 12 years.

Promoting Priyanka will be a straight downgrading of Rahul. Rahul Gandhi may be looking dwarf in front of NaMo, but nobody can deny about his hard work. His failure can not be attributed to him alone. It was mainly because of  unfocussed leadership of the party and lack of maturity in people around him.

Many say that he fails to inspire people because he lacks confidence.  His younger sister has political charisma which he lacks. Priyanka has additional appeal of being a woman- a factor that motivates many in election. But this yet to tested. If gone wrong may boomerang also.
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