UPA’S FACE FOR THE NEXT LOK SABHA POLLS: MANMOHAN SINGH IN THE RACE? – WHAT DOES IT SAY?

Indian National Congress General Secretary and spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi today rejected the wisdom of Digvijay Singh who, some days ago, had said that the concept of two power centers had failed. While doing so, he pushed some more fodder to the debate over the Congress party’s prime-ministerial candidate in the upcoming general elections.

The question on ‘who will be projected as the prime-ministerial face of the Congress party for the upcoming Lok Sabha election’ has different possibilities and the final choice would depend on how the Congress party members and its strategists are looking at the possible outcome of the next general elections.

If both think that the UPA is going to manage victory in the next general elections, Manmohan Singh can be effectively ruled out.

But if the Congress party managers think that it is not possible to come back to the office in the next general elections (an assumption nearer to the reality), they would prefer to continue hailing the Sonia-Manmohan arrangement and would, in all likelihood, would project Manmohan as the face of the party in the polls, as Janardan Dwivedi said today – “The relationship between the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi is unique and their camaraderie cannot be replaced easily. We have not seen this sort of duality in any other time and in all probability it is the ideal model for future also.” – April 2, 2013

If the Congress party is about the Nehru-Gandhi family and if the party members (barring few) see their future dependent on success of Rahul Gandhi (or say Priyanka Gandhi), taking this line is logical.

Rahul has already had his share of big electoral setbacks in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where he campaigned intensively but the Congress party was routed. Party managers have been trying hard to shield Rahul’s name away from these defeats but a defeat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections would water down everything effectively pushing Rahul’s political career back by many years.

That might well be detrimental to the Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi family in an era of coalition politics and emergence of many other regional political dynasties.

So, if a certain defeat is clear in the mindset of the Congress party strategists, it is better to leave it to Manmohan Singh, to bear the brunt of anti-incumbency against his government, giving Rahul Gandhi opportunity to play safe for the long-term political future.

And this makes Manmohan to remain in the race. And it, if indeed, is the underlying thinking behind making Manmohan face of the next elections, then his reply, “these are hypothetical questions, we will cross the bridge when it comes”, on a question asking if the Congress party could make him the prime-ministerial candidate for the next elections, sounds more like a statement made out of compulsion than out of self-confidence.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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