The Indian National Congress is going through an interesting phase. While the party vice-president recently said that he is not interested to become the prime minister for he feels it is important to be detached from power, the prime minister on Wednesday took an unusual stance of taking on the Opposition BJP in the Parliament.
With the national elections just a year or so away and the Opposition slowly pushing Narendra Modi to occupy the seat of its prime ministerial candidate irrespective of issues within its alliance, the new twist in the game of the Congress is bound to demand a fresh analysis. Who will finally take on Modi in the battle of 2014? Speculation is endless.
Yes or no, Rahul Gandhi must take a decisive call
If Rahul Gandhi is indeed not interested in becoming the PM, a decision that was made famous by her mother nine years ago, then why is there no decisive step on this till now? While a section of the party was left confused by the hermit prince's words on power and marriage, the top leadership is yet to back a name as its next leader to lead the nation, provided it comes to power for the third consecutive time. Is there a serious lack of decision-making?
Is Rahul's honest realisation costing his party?
The reason of this indecisiveness is perhaps Rahul Gandhi's honest realisation that he is not a man of politics. It is because the party is excessively centralised in its functioning that Rahul is feeling an immense pressure to get rid of the ‘Gandhi' tag and genuinely try to decentralise the party's functioning.
The problem is the man's ‘one-step-forward-two-steps-backward' approach is making the party lose some precious moments ahead of the next big polls. His recent project to build the party from the base by meeting with grassroot workers at various parts of the country has not taken off at the right time either. This work should have been undertaken much earlier or once the next big polls get over. So, is the reluctant Gandhi harming the party's cause more?
Actually it is. Gandhi is catching attention for reasons that are not entirely political and more personal and family-oriented. The man has been making remarks which are found to be self-contradictory at times and this is bound to affect the party workers' morale ahead of the big prestige battle with the BJP.
Did Rahul's indecisiveness and party's confusion charge up Manmohan?
May be the indecisiveness of the top leader and the consequent confusion in the party charged up the prime minister to take up the baton himself and counter the opposition. Being the head of the government, Manmohan Singh found to be utterly humiliating to remain silent as the opposition continued to mock him at every instance. He even crossed 'poetic' swords with opposition leader Sushma Swaraj, considered to having better oratory skills than him.
‘Night-watchman' turned ‘pitch-hitter'
The ‘night-watchman' didn't hesitate to turn into a ‘pinch-hitter' once the BJP decided to attack his government again on issues of governance. This decisiveness of Singh has given birth to a new spirit. Has Singh decided to remain the king in the future as well?
Singh's rare act as a bold PM
Whether Singh remains king or not is for time to decide, but his stunning aggression in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday would have been welcomed by many. Singh was at his rarest best again, perhaps first time after the 2008 debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal. What was even good to see that he countered the opposition through facts and figures and not vague talks. This is how the chief political executive is expected to act and not just stand there as a meek representation of some invisible power centre.
If Modi is more popular to become the PM of the country in this moment, it is because of his personalised style of ruling, which does not depend on anybody's approval.
The retreating shadow of the Gandhis will allow the Congress to grow up
Rahul Gandhi's reluctance could do the Congress a favour by allowing it to grow an independent mind. Singh's assertion in the Lok Sabha was perhaps an indicator to that. The prime minister can not go on expecting his political bosses to rescue him every time the opposition targets him and need to have a self-defending mechanism. Manmohan Singh, after all, is not just another novice who has been given the top job. One of the best scholars the country has known, the man must know how to exercise his mind. More often than what he has done in the past nine years.
Did Manmohan say that he can lead again?
Things are too hazy in the Congress camp. The heir prince has suddenly decided not to lead the party despite getting a grand elevation in the hierarchy a few months ago while the workers feel terribly upset if there is no Gandhi at the top to guide them. And now, Manmohan Singh's sudden acceleration in the Parliament.
Apart from exhibiting a tighter defence, the ‘nightwatchman' might have also expressed an intention to open the innings again, if the UPA III comes to power.