The 'Rahul Gandhi is set to take over' headline in the Indian media is a tiring one now. People are feeling frustrated reading on and hearing about this not just because the Congress hasn't been able to take that simple but decisive step in all these years and despite repeated defeats in elections, but also because this much-awaited medicine for the Congress now looks obsolete.
Since 2014, India has moved on and now it is too late for the Congress to cover up the lost miles by riding on the back of Rahul Gandhi.
Supporters of the BJP, critics of the Congress and political experts have agreed on one point and that is: Rahul Gandhi's rise in the ranks now will help Narendra Modi and his team to achieve their dream of Congress-Mukt Bharat.
The time for Rahul Gandhi has come and gone
This is just not a mere mockery. This speaks about the wide gap which exists between Modi and Rahul today and whether the latter becomes the formal head of the party or not, his time has gone for sure.
The continuous effort to shield Rahul Gandhi against the Modi Blitzkrieg that swept the country in 2014 has reduced the former's utility by far. Even if Rahul has not been officially made the president of the Congress party, but one can't deny the fact that the party has fought all the major elections since 2009 with the vice-president as its face.
Whether Rahul becomes president or not, Congress has been fighting the polls under his leadership and losing most or all of them
And barring the decent show of the Congress in UP in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Congress has failed in every big election under the disguised leadership of Rahul Gandhi. It has lost major states, including some where it had been in power for a long time, and the leader's failure in gauging the ground reality was held responsible for some of those defeats.
If the future leadership is a spent force, it's a big disadvantage
This is a big, big disadvantage for the Congress and Rahul Gandhi. It is now a perceived truth that Rahul Gandhi doesn't have it in him to successfully lead the Congress. And this perception has taken effect at a time when the country has found a more trusted leader in Modi.
Rahul would have had an opportunity still had the uncertainty of the coalition era persisted for the "secular forces" could rally around him to prevent the "communal forces" to come to power.
Regional leaders have grown in stature more than Rahul
But the situation isn't the same after the 2014 Lok Sabha election. With the BJP getting a brute majority in the Lok Sabha and the party slowly but gradually expanding its base in corners of the country, the space for the "secular forces" led by the Congress has got drastically reduced.
It is no over-statement to say that as long as Modi leads a majority government at the Centre and the Congress goes on losing its footholds across the country, the mediocre leadership of Rahul Gandhi has simply no chance.
What was Congress doing in 3 years since Rahul Gandhi was made vice-president?
Instead, there is enough possibility of regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal getting more significance than either Rahul Gandhi or Congress in the future elections. These regional leaders are seen more as teh future rival of Modi, not Rahul Gandhi.
By focusing on the dynasty, what new Prashant Kishor is doing?
It is also dissatisfying to see master strategist Prashant Kishor prescribing the same medicine of prioritising the Gandhis to revive the Congress. If that is the only way out, then why does the Congress need a Kishor to show it the way forward?
The party has anyhow carried on with the same arrangement of a Gandhi leading the rest since Indira Gandhi had taken over. But can Kishor make a drastic proposal to change the Congress's way of functioning since that party is a prisoner of a mindset.
Not when but why Rahul Gandhi
Sometimes, it requires a vibrant jerk as a reaction to an adversity. But the Congress leadership never felt it that way and continued to hide Rahul Gandhi till the time that there was no more place left. Today, after wasting too much time, the Congress is forced to face that same question: When Rahul Gandhi? And its failure to find a timely answer has given birth to the next question: Why Rahul Gandhi?