Priyanka Gandhi's gradual approach towards politics says that the Congress is ready to take out its final weapon for the upcoming battle of survival. The recent assembly poll results have not helped the reliability of Rahul Gandhi as a leader who can take it forward alone while Manmohan Singh is just counting days to end his agonising stay in the office. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is not getting younger. Under these circumstances, the charismatic but untested Gandhi in Priyanka is the only way forward for the Congress.
The Congress will survive as long as the Gandhis are in good health
There is, however, no reason to ridicule the idea of bringing in Priyanka, even in the eleventh hour. For one thing is certain and that is the Congress can not survive intact if the Gandhis crumble. History has enough proof on this. In 1984, after former prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, senior leader Pranab Mukherjee had left the party to return later.
Similarly, in the immediate post-Rajiv Gandhi days till 1998, the Congress without a Gandhi at its helm had undergone a forgettable phase. The grand-old party was a sinking ship which was saved by a reluctant Sonia Gandhi in 1998 and was also brought to power in another six years time. Even years before when Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri had died in quick succession putting the future of the Congress under question, it was Nehru's little-known daughter who had taken up the baton. Will we see the repeat of this in another 5-10 years with Priyanka Gandhi being the leader this time?
One gets a feeling that with Rahul Gandhi not performing convincingly as a solo leader, the Congress could see a continuation of the dual-power centres model with Rahul's sister also chipping in. Since Rahul Gandhi is more interested in the party's organisational work, will the Congress do better by declaring Priyanka Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate, may be in the 2019 polls? It will be impossible for Rahul Gandhi alone to work both at the top and bottom of the party and he will require a help. Who else but Priyanka can the best possible help with their mother chipping in as the bridge between the young leadership and old guards of the party?
A dynasty itself isn't bad. Most parties in India today have embraced the dynastic style of politics and there are ample examples from abroad as well. What is more important is how can a party as an institution be served best and as far as the cornered Congress is concerned, it's only the Delhi-based dynasty that can keep it together for times to come. For many, the centralised functioning of the party looks to be its biggest curse but it is also its biggest strength.
May be our future editors will use the Nehru-Gandhi-Vadra dynasty as a tag very often.