The party was earnestly hoping that it will derail Modi's dream of becoming the prime minister. But the Sangh Parivar read the signals and put pressure on the BJP to declare Modi as its prime ministerial candidate at the earliest.
The leader is set to address a massive rally in Jaipur on Tuesday and the Congress might have been feeling the pressure again. It has consequently run for vice-president Rahul Gandhi to revive hopes in Rajasthan, a state ruled by its own government.
PM's sudden endorsement revived the party's hope about Rahul
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh abruptly endorsed Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister after returning from the G20 Summit a few days ago (we said abruptly for Gandhi himself was trying to eliminate expectations of him becoming the PM), the Congress felt all the more encouraged to back the 43-year-old leader. Gandhi will address a couple of rallies in Rajasthan on September 11 and 17, one of them involving tribals and farmers, and the ruling party is sincerely hoping that it will be a strong reply to Modi's rally of Tuesday.
Modi as PM candidate will put the Congress under pressure
The Congress will be clearly left rattled if the saffron camp declares Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate. For in that case, the party overtly dependent on the Gandhi family will have no alternative to present but Rahul Gandhi himself.
The Congress is feeling encouraged to back Rahul Gandhi after the PM's remark
It will be interesting to see what the leader, who has been emphasising time and again that he is more interested in the organisation work rather than the PM's post, does at that point of time. It could be a revisit to 1997 when Sonia Gandhi was compelled to take up the party's responsibility after the era of PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesari. This time, Rahul Gandhi could reluctantly inherit the post-Manmohan Singh Congress, battered and bruised.
UP riots pushing Congress for Rahul?
The Congress is also tilting back on Rahul Gandhi, particularly after the Muzaffarnagar riots for it is apprehensive that the VHP's recent Ayodhya adventure and the Samajwadi Party's opposing it followed by the riots will polarise the votes to such extreme that it will be the final loser in the electorally crucial state. The party is desperate to project Gandhi as the symbol of secularism to regain some ground. Bihar state party president Ashok Chowdhary said Rahul Gandhi, if elected the prime minister, will crush all communal forces in the country.
Modi's anointment as the PM candidate is likely to have far-reaching impact, not only in the BJP but also in the Congress. That is for sure.