New Delhi, Dec 4: Probably in years, for the first time, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has managed to steal the limelight from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the all-time favourite of the media.
On Monday, it's Rahul, Rahul, Rahul...all over the media. Be it his supporters or critics, everyone, for a change, forgot about Modi and were all chanting RaGa's (as Rahul is also known as) tunes, literally.
It was a 'big' Monday for Rahul, as the scion of the Gandhi family filed his nomination papers for the election to the Congress president's post. Reports say by Monday evening, Rahul will be crowned as the Congress chief unopposed, ending the 19-year-old party presidentship of his mother Sonia Gandhi.
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and critics of the Congress have called the presidential polls in the Congress a "farce", the grand old party maintains the entire election process is "democratic".
All the drama surrounding Rahul's elevation has come at a time when both the BJP and the Congress are fully engrossed in campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly elections 2017. The elections in Modi's home turf are scheduled on December 9 and 14.
Just minutes after Rahul filed his nomination papers for the Congress presidential elections in the national capital, Modi took a dig at the Congress and its would-be chief at an election rally in Dharampur, Gujarat.
Modi called the Congress a "family party", where the Gandhi family members always enjoy the top posts. In fact he compared the Gandhi family with the Mughal dynasty where the sons had always inherited their father's kingdom, taking a jibe at Rahul becoming the head of the Congress in a few hours from now.
"I congratulate the Congress on their 'Aurangzeb Raj'. For us, the well-being of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command," said Modi.
PM Modi has often addressed Rahul as a "shehzada" (prince) of the Congress and alleged that the party follows dynastic politics. Taking a cue from Modi, Congress rebel leader Shehzad Poonawalla, who is openly opposing Rahul's elevation as the Congress boss, has also called the Congress VP a "shehzada".
Poonawalla had alleged that the party president's election is rigged to favour Rahul.
Amid protests and allegations over Rahul's elevation as the Congress chief, staying true to "family values" like a Bollywood sanskari drama, the Gandhi scion was seen with veteran and top Congress leaders as he filed his nomination papers.
Rahul, who has been the Congress' VP for almost five years, filed nomination papers at the party's 24 Akbar Road headquarters in Delhi on Monday morning with a bevy of leaders surrounding him.
Before filing his nomination papers, Rahul met former PM Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee, to seek their blessings, party sources said. At the party office, he was seen hugging veteran Congress leaders Sheila Dikshit and Mohsina Kidwai.
"Rahul is a darling of the Congress and he will carry forward the great traditions of the party," said former PM Singh.
In fact, the former PM is the first proposer in one of four sets of nomination papers that the 47-year-old leader has filed. Sonia is the first proposer in another set.
As Singh called Rahul a "darling", Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath lashed out at the Congress calling the party a "burden to the nation". He also made fun of Rahul stating that the Congress VP might help to bring an end to the Congress' existence in future as the party is witnessing one poll defeat after another since the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.
"The Congress has become a burden to the nation. It would be good if after Rahul ji's elevation once and for all this (the Congress) burden is removed," Yogi was quoted as saying by ANI.
Now, only time will tell whether Rahul would be able to prove himself a "darling" of the Congress by regaining its lost glory or his tenure as the party president would prove "fatal" for the grand old party.