Why not give up this charade of 'electing' a 'new' leader of the Congress Party and unanimously anoint Rahul Gandhi, or, for that matter, any other member of the Gandhi family as president for life? Honestly, such a course would evoke less opprobrium for the fast-fading Grand Old Party than the periodic invocations of inner party democracy and alleged motions of organisational elections.
Last week came the news that the party has yet again put off the presidential poll till after the forthcoming assembly polls. The virtual meeting of party leaders where the decision was taken witnessed some sparks, with a few among the 23 letter-writers questioning the need to postpone the poll by another four months. But expectedly, the courtiers had their way, shouting down those who wanted to press ahead with the election process. Puffed up by their perceived loyalty to the family, some of the courtiers questioned the locus standi of those demanding elections.
Predictably, the Congress chief ministers felt obliged to kowtow to the family, rebuking those arguing against suspension of the election process. All of the above was on predictable lines. For the party has long mortgaged its intellectual and moral conscience to the Gandhi family. But a likely hurdle in resuming the exercise to elect a new president even after four months was ignored by both sides. Which is that in case of a bad performance in the ensuing assembly polls, would it be okay to anoint Rahul Gandhi as de jure president? Isn’t it better to persist with the present arrangement whereby he plays the de facto boss but still remains in a position to disown responsibility for repeated popular rejection?