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Unpredictable Grades

It’s a strange equilibrium as every plus-point of Rahul Gandhi as leader seems to have a con to match

Unpredictable Grades
Illustration by R. Prasad
Unpredictable Grades


  • Pro He represents change and fresh energy, which the party urgently needs
  • Con Rahul takes over at a time when the Congress has lost much of its relevance as a national party


  • Pro Rahul maintains close contact with his chosen set of people, keeping tabs on progress through them
  • Con How he uses the wisdom and experience of the Congress elders is not yet clear and can be a challenge


  • Pro As a Gandhi scion there are no challengers to Rahul’s leadership in the party
  • Con But the Congress may go into “sleep” mode without Rahul’s physical presence


  • Pro Rahul seems honest in acknowledging Congress’s weakness for “letting people down”
  • Con His long “leave of absence” raises questions about his seriousness in leading


  • Pro The Congress party still has the potential to become the nucleus of the anti-BJP front
  • Con But apart from a few bipolar states, Congress is almost non-existent in most states with strong regional parties


  • Pro Rahul and Congress stand for the “secular, liberal and inclusive” ethos of India
  • Con But the tendency to play the “soft Hindutva” card may push minorities to regional parties’ fold


  • Pro Rahul’s leadership can shed much of the “corruption tag” associated with the party by bringing in fresh faces as his close team
  • Con Barring a few, most of his young, close aides continue to be children of regional feudal lords and not ordinary people


  • Pro In the past one year Rahul has managed to make people, especially youngsters, listen to him and appreciate much of what he says
  • Con But he is yet to match Modi’s ability to reach out to the masses and convey his messages effectively


  • Pro As president of the Congress, Rahul will have the advantage of engaging with a host of regional parties
  • Con But he lacks his mother’s heft to be taken seriously outside the party and needs Sonia in the backdrop to succeed


  • Pro The Congress may wait for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to project Rahul as PM
  • Con Many regional party leaders may also see the opportunity and throw their hat in the ring for the coveted post


  • Pro Rahul can continue to be guided by his mother, Sonia, and take her advice on crucial issues
  • Con But as he feels more confident in his new role, there may be clashes between his and his mother’s advisors


  • Pro Most non-BJP parties will want to have Congress as part of their alliance
  • Con But such alliances can jeopardise the Congress’s own relevance in the states


  • Pro Recent by elections in UP and Bihar show the BJP is not invincible
  • Con But credit for such victories goes to the relevant regional parties and not the Congress


  • Pro Rahul realises Congress needs to accept the ground reality and play “second fiddle” in many states
  • Con Traditionally, however, Congress has failed to transfer its vote to partners, though it may have benefited from the alliances

By Pragya Singh, Illustrations by R. Prasad

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