Rahul tipped to be Leader of Opposition
Rahul Gandhi Tipped to be Leader of Opposition, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is preparing himself for the new role of leading the party from the front, in his bid to rebuild it, after what is expected to be worst-ever rout in the Lok Sabha elections on May 16.
- Quiet move to deflect focus off him over party rout
- Leaders say he was not part of the government
- Digvijay Singh may be made Oppn Leader in RS
New Delhi: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is preparing himself for the new role of leading the party from the front, in his bid to rebuild it, after what is expected to be worst-ever rout in the Lok Sabha elections on May 16. Whatever the results, Congress leaders assert that Rahul Gandhi will continue to be their leader.
There is pressure on Rahul Gandhi to take up the role of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, while the political buzz is that Digvijay Singh, and not Manmohan Singh, is tipped to be the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Sources stated that Rahul Gandhi, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls had told his colleagues in the AICC that “after the polls, I will rebuild the party my own way.” Somehow, he too, had realized that it would be difficult for the Congress to win the polls, particularly after a string of scams that brought disrepute to the UPA government. This time, AICC Vice-President is looking forward to shape up the party in his own style and would therefore not shy away in running from bigger responsibility.
It is being pointed out that Rajiv Gandhi’s stint as Leader of Opposition from 1989 had given him the real opportunity to shape up as a leader. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, too, donned the mantle of Leader of Opposition from 1999 to 2004 during the Vajpayee Government.
The Congress is quietly conceding defeat but is making all-out efforts to ensure that Rahul Gandhi is not blamed for the party’s rout. Distancing Rahul Gandhi from the Congress performance, which is expected to be routed when the results are out on Friday, senior Congress leaders claim that the main factor was the anti-incumbency of the UPA Government for 10 years. Shielding Rahul Gandhi, it is being pointed out that he was never projected as the Congress Prime Ministerial candidate and what had gone against the Congress was the popular perception about the UPA Government, especially the string of scams that came to light. Union Minister Kamal Nath said, “The election results will be based on government performance and Rahul Gandhi is not a part of the Government.” It was the Government’s job to communicate and showcase its achievements and the good work it has done. The party concedes that despite programmes like MGNREGA and Food Security, it failed to reap political dividends.
Another Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, considered close to Rahul Gandhi, defended his leader, saying Rahul was an indefatigable campaigner, who addressed 125 rallies across the country, visiting every State and injecting zest and enthusiasm into the party electioneering. Rahul Gandhi will continue to focus on introducing more reforms in the party. Although Sonia Gandhi is expected to stay on as Congress President, Rahul would be playing a greater role in the party affairs, with the sole mission of preparing the party for the next General Election.