The way he expressed a strong view over the government's controversial ordinance to protect tainted politicians, it shows how much credibility the Manmohan Singh government enjoys, not only in the eyes of the common people but in those of its own members.
The Congress vice-president said the ordinance is a non-sense and it should be torn off and thrown away. It is a clear rejection of the authority of a beleaguered government led by Dr Singh and the voice of disapproval from none other than the party's central command will undoubtedly put the government in a bigger embarrassment.
Gandhi's double gains
Gandhi might have killed two birds with one stone at the impromptu press conference. One, he stakes his claim in the party's top leadership. This could be the moment that all supporters of Gandhi and those not convinced in Singh's leadership were waiting for.
The UPA II government has been rattled by endless number of problems and it is just living each day to match the opposition's onslaught. Falling back on the Gandhis is something that could revive the Congress, just like Sonia Gandhi had done in the post-Narasimha Rao days when the party was in the dire straits after a shocking electoral loss in 1996.
Rahul Gandhi ensured that he remained in the race with a speeding Narendra Modi
Secondly, Gandhi regained some lost moral ground for the party. Being a better mass leader than Manmohan Singh, Gandhi understands the prevailing mood better than the prime minister who is more a bureaucrat than a political leader, and he could understand that the Congress was preparing for a suicide by backing a controversial ordinance.
The Supreme Court's verdict on the right to reject on Friday must have played a role in Gandhi's aggressive reaction. At a time when Narendra Modi is running away with his soaring popularity, Gandhi needed an opportunity to keep himself in the race. And given Modi's rise in popularity, the Congress leader found an easier target in his own party, the prime minister himself, to return into the reckoning.
Well done Rahul Gandhi. The only question is: Did you do it too late?