New Delhi : There are just portents of bad news from the five poll bound states for the Congress, and the real stuff has not been delivered as yet but there seems to be end to the woes of the party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
When the results are declared this Thursday, Rahul has to retain either Kerala or Assam, and win back some major state like West Bengal or Tamilnadu to convince the doubting Thomases within the party itself that he means business. Should he lose Assam to BJP, and Kerala to the Left, he would surely suffer a big blow.
But even without such fateful outcomes, there is enough trouble for the reluctant politician as his hand-picked strategist Prashant Kishor (PK) realises that handling a Congress campaign is a far cry from working with the future prime minister Narendra Modi or the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar trying to retain his seat of power in Patna.
First there was a faux pas when stories attributed to the PK camp suggested that his formula for a Congress-win in Uttar Pradesh consists in projecting either Rahul or his sister Priyanka as the chief ministerial candidate. “this was the ”unthinkable” in the dynastic politics of the Gandhi family where the lesser mortals cannot take upon themselves the privilege of making announcements that concern the first family.
Now there is the open spat in the Punjab with former chief minister Amarinder Singh who has been anointed as the future chief minister also. The differences worsened to the extent that party general secretary incharge Shakeel Ahmed had to intervene and assert:” He (PK) had been told when he was appointed that he is a strategist and will have no role in organisational matters and ticket distribution.”
Such an arrangement is clearly unacceptable to PK who believes that his relationship with the Congress is not one of pitching ideas and having them rejected or accepted but feels that this an evolving relationship with both sides trying to figure out how to leverage best strategy for elections. To achieve this objective, he needs a free hand in all matters, or else he risks losing his reputation as the master strategist.
Now the decisive moment for Rahul is not far off, and he would have to take all the decisions that he has been putting off for the last two years after the party’s humiliating defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He has delayed the long anticipated ”restructuring” of the party for (considering that a week is long time in politics), two years can be certainly said to be an eternity.
Indeed, if PK gives up the Congress assignment, then this would be their second parting of ways. He had spent some time with the Congress vice-president earlier before hitching himself to the Modi bandwagon.