NEW DELHI: Politics is the art of the possible. But for Rahul Gandhi, everything he attempted remained in the domain of impossibility.
Two main elements that can help elevate a mainstream politician to leadership position -- winning elections for others and convincing people about your ability to deliver -- eluded him.
On both counts Rahul lost, making 2014 his and the Congress party’s annus horribilis. It needs no reiteration that Rahul failed to convince people. Not just the voters at the larger election arena, but also people within his own party.
It was in many ways as much a defeat of the ideas he floated as it was his inability to play deft politics to sell those ideas, whether behind closed doors of the Congress party or out in the open electoral arena.
So, now the writing on the wall is post election debacles, parliamentary and assemblies, Congress hierarchy has quietly shelved Rahul’s idea of “internal democraticisation”.
His grand plan to hold elections from the grass-roots to the CWC (Congress Working Committee) are out. Instead, the new buzzword is “maximum consensus”, with a Congress senior quipping “reaching consensus is involves process of contest-election and selection”.
But the consensus bit is the outer manifestation of the sidelining of Rahul’s idea. When the party is staring at obsolescence, there is no scope for experiments, one of his older aides admitted.
Rahul’s move to hold internal polls for all party posts as also for parliamentary/assembly seats, as in primaries, have been junked. One senior leader adds that some of his chosen Youth Congress or PCC chiefs may find it difficult if the party actually holds these elections.
It was Rahul who handpicked Sachin Pilot to head Rajasthan PCC, Arun Yadav for Madhya Pradesh and V M Sudheeran for Kerala. Rahul’s choice will be honoured, but not his methods.
The manner in which Punjab MLA, 37-year-old Amrinder Raja , was made Youth Congress chief replacing Congress Maharashtra MP Rajiv Satav, through “consensus” and not elections, was an indication of how the Congress vice president’s structural changes has been kept in abeyance.
It’s not that warring is not close to Rahul or lacks his support, it’s that Karnataka’s YC general secretary Rizwan Archad was not allowed to become an elected Youth Congress president-- “that process was junked”, one of those present during the YC chief’s selection said.
Internal elections are clearly seen to be a Pandora’s box which an already struggling Congress does not want to subject itself to. “Are we to now fight among each other or try to put our act together” to stay afloat, is how a second-term Congress MP who’s a state unit office-bearer puts it.
Also Rahul’s way of running the party as a CEO of a corporate firm is a thing of the past. The Congress will be run by a board of directors, who can be trustees and custodians of the party’s iconography, legacy and history. The members of the board are not necessarily those who people from the CWC, but a more amorphous and changing group of senior party functionaries, ideologues and sympathisers.
Nonetheless, once the organisational elections are over middle of 2015, there will be an AICC session and Rahul will run the show. But not on his terms alone.