New Delhi, July 15: The Congress is fighting two wars at the same time--one against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the second against its very own, Rahul Gandhi.
While the first one is an open challenge to the Congress to arrest the growing popularity of Modi, the other one is a far trickier battle.
It's the Congress' "internal" fight to decide whether its current vice president Rahul Gandhi should or should not be the face of the grand old party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which is just two years down the line.
With each passing day, the Congress' dilemma surrounding the "Rahul question" is fast growing. On the one hand, party's tradition demands that the scion of the Gandhi family should be the face of the Congress, on the other hand whether a "weak" leader like Rahul would be the right choice to lead the party in the current critical situation.
Since, 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress under the leadership of Rahul is losing elections after elections. The party has been almost wiped out of the country. No matter how many chances the party veterans have given to Rahul, he has always disappointed them.
The latest embarrassment the Congress had to face because of Rahul was his flip-flop surrounding his meeting with Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui recently. Before that, Rahul all of a sudden disappeared when farmers' protests, particularly in states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, were at its peak.
After Rahul's "dramatic" attempt to enter Mandsaur, MP, where five farmers were killed in a police firing, the Congress VP decided that he was too tired to work more and took almost a month-long vacation in Italy.
Several senior leaders of the Congress are unhappy that every time there is a crucial issue plaguing the nation, which could well be used against the Modi government, Rahul leaves the party "orphan" and goes on a holiday.
If reports are to be believed, even party president and mother Sonia Gandhi is "upset" with Rahul's non-committal behaviour and repeated failure to give some resemblance to the shaky boat of the Congress.
According to a report by News18, Rahul may not be the Congress' face for the 2019 elections. Rather the old guard of the party is going to take over the reins of the Congress. The idea of bringing back the senior Congress leaders to the forefront has been mooted by Sonia only.
The most recent shake-up in the Congress--the announcement of the party' communication committee--dominated by senior leaders such as P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, is an indication how Rahul and his teammates are being sidelined by the party.
Reports indicate that the veterans and several party workers want Sonia to lead the party at least till 2019. Thus, the long-pending decision to elevate Rahul as the party's president by October looks possible.
The party insiders say that there are many reasons why Rahul won't lead the party, prominent among them are--Rahul himself is reluctant to take the charge, a series of "flop shows" has left Rahul vulnerable, humiliating defeat of the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly polls under Rahul's leadership and Rahul's flip-flop regarding meeting the Chinese envoy, to name a few.
Moreover, if Rahul steps down now it would also act as a "face saver". The entire slugfest between the BJP and the Congress as Modi versus Rahul is definitely detrimental to the Congress as Modi is way too powerful than Rahul.
There are also indications that Rahul might be pushed aside for the time-being to give a tough competition to the BJP, however, he could be brought back to fight the battle at a later stage.
If reports of Rahul's demotion are true, it is a matter of "celebrations" for not only the disgruntled workers of the Congress, but also for the country, which definitely needs a strong opposition leader to counter the Modi regime, which is fast turning "dictatorial" in many fronts.