The Congress leadership is seriously planning its plan for the UP election early next year around Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Besides the party's master strategist Prashant Kishor, the recently appointed in-charge for the state, Ghulam Nabi Azad, is also wanting Priyanka to campaign beyond Amethi and Rae Bareli, the two parliamentary constituencies of her brother Rahul and mother Sonia, respectively, and make a state-wide impact.
The Congress and its supporters have always dreamt of Priyanka, who they feel have a shadow of her late grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi in her, leading the pack in electoral battles. But Priyanka has not taken part in active politics so far and only played a helping hand to her family members in elections.
Congress has two options now: either implode under Rahul's uninspiring leadership or choose a fresh face in Priyanka
Now, with the Congress failing to stop its losing streak and Project Rahul Gandhi looking unlikely to deliver, the dream has turned into a desperation. The way India's grand-old party is going, there could be only options for it in the near future: implode under the frustrating leading-from-back stand of Rahul Gandhi or find a fresh new face in Priyanka as its future leader.
The Congress's strategy has been so predictable now that it doesn't excite the voters anymore. While the government of Narendra Modi is bringing out some new ideas, good or bad, to effect some momentum in a system which had turned stagnant under the previous UPA government, the Congress is still not been able to overcome its stagnancy and decide on Rahul or Priyanka.
Congress has wasted so much time on deciding Rahul or Priyanka that its time is virtually out now
The party has wasted so much time on finding an answer (it hasn't found still though) to the basic question of leadership that today the question of succession has become largely irrelevant.
Unlike in the past when Rajiv Gandhi's succeeding Indira Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi taking over the Congres's reins to bring the Gandhis back into reckoning or the prospects of Rahul Gandhi succeeding his mother generated quite an enthusiasm among the countrymen, in the Modi era of today, the Congress's succession story is at most a side dish which is relished by not many apart from the party's loyal supporters.
"Who after Sonia?" It's Congress's BJPfication of sort
In fact, just like the BJP had witnessed a period of struggle between 2005-2012 when everybody was thinking "Who after Vajpayee?" till Modi stormed into the scene (Advani tried to step into Vajpayee's shoes but failed to fit in), the Congress is now facing a similar dilemma over "Who after Sonia?"
And since the Congress is unable to think beyond the dynasty and with Rahul Gandhi failing to rise to the occasion since the 2009 election when the party did well in UP under his leadership, the desperate choice is now Priyanka. But can she really deliver now when India has changed so much?
Priyanka has a shadow of Indira Gandhi? Dear friend, the days of romaticism are over
Whether Priyanka has the shadow of late Indira or not, India of today is completely different from that of the 1970s and 1980s. This is an era which the democracy goes to referendum almost everyday, thanks to the boom of media of all sorts and the top leaders can never aspire to remain popular without keeping themselves at an arms' length from the electorate. Most political leaders today are hence seen making regular interaction on social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Charisma alone doesn't work today; performance and pragmatism only do
Can members of the 'royal family' break that primary obstacle to mingle with the masses today? The likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had the charisma factor working in their favour but today only charisma isn't enough. Performance and pragmatism are in fact more important than anything else.
With no experience in active politics or administration, can Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hope to make up more than her brother's failure in generating enthusiasm among the masses? Or will she end up as Rahul Gandhi 2?
Results of the all-important UP election next year will give the answer.