Undeterred by its worst-ever performance in Lok Sabha elections, Congress leaders still believe there is no escape from the dynasty and it is the only glue to prevent them from disintegrating. Rahul Gandhi remains their hope, while some leaders expect Priyanka Gandhi to come to the forefront at least to neutralise the Rahul's lack of charisma.
What awaits Rahul Gandhi, is not just a battle for survival, but for credibility as well. Being a youung leader he will find it now difficult to make senior leaders listen to him. Congress senior leader Vayalar Ravi said in Kerala that Rahul is only a young and emerging leader. So the rise of dissent cannot be ruled out if things go further down. Worse, Rahul may not be able to retain Amethi in the next election having just about scraped through. So he will be a leader without a party and a constituency. Nor any possibility of wielding power in the near future. It is a triple whammy and as of now Rahul does not seem to have any plans to work his way out of the quagmire.
Even though Sonia Gandhi made him vice president of the party in the hope that he will hold the reins, it is now becoming clear that the reins will have to go back to mother Sonia. It is significant that Sonia appeared along with Rahul to make the defeat acceptance speech, which was marred by the fact that they both did not congratulate Narendra Modi.
Family loyalist and party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the party cannot exist without Gandhis and it would be most stupid thing to blame them. Recalling that BJP had just two seats in 1984, Aiyar said being in opposition would be a great learning experience for the party as well as for Rahul. He will emerge a true and strong leader after his stint as an opposition.
"This will be time to democratise the party and put his plan in action to empower ground workers," said Aiyar.
"The ministers should have realised they were unable to propagate their programmes to public. They had been taking the party casually too," a senior general secretary told dna. Discounting that it was corruption and scams that brought the UPA down, the leader said the
Congress failed to judge the organisational strength of the BJP. "When non-political people take over as ministers and position themselves around key leaders pushing ground workers and leaders to the wall, such results are evident," he said. He, however, hastily added there would be no change in leadership.
So what is the future that awaits the Congress. pretty dismal at the moment as the party has scored a duck in seven states. The only hope the party has is if the BJP goes into a full throated right wing economic agenda and in that case it can start mobilising on its por-poor platform and at least hold some protest meetings.