The appointment of Rahul Gandhi as a general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) is the first clear indication that an electoral breeze may blow through the country earlier than expected, following the kerfuffle over the nuclear deal and the Ram Sethu. By putting the 37-year-old in charge of youth affairs and the National Students’ Union of India, the “demands” of many a Congressman (and woman) for a more substantive role for the Member of Parliament from Amethi have been met. But the move is also indication that Manmohan Singh may have reached his use-by date by the time election nears.
Questions: With his surname, will Rahul Gandhi be able to strike a chord amongst the electorate like his father Rajiv Gandhi, mother Sonia Gandhi, or grandmother Indira Gandhi? Or, given his inability to do any wonders in the Uttar Pradesh election, is this another move by the “dynasty” to prevent the party from coming apart? Does he have the equipment upstairs to deal with the Karats and khaki sticks? Or is the Congress betting too much on a household horse that it has been riding for very long? If the Congress and an alliance led by it comes to power in the next election, as opinion polls indicate, will Rahul Gandhi get to occupy the hot seat?
Bonus questions: Is a democratically elected MP’s elevation as general secretary of the AICC another indication of “dynastic politics“? And is Priyanka Gandhi next?