Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty seems all set to be the Congress Party’s Prime Minister candidate for the 2014 General Elections. It is my gut feeling and I could be wrong that 2014 is likely to witness India’s “Second Big Political Renunciation” if the Congress Party is able to cobble up some political coalition and romp into power once again. If it does, it is my hunch that like Sonia Gandhi made the “Great Renunciation” and nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in 2004, Rahul Gandhi can be expected to make the “Second Big Political Renunciation” in 2014 and perpetuate the myth that the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty while it leads the Congress Party to victory, it is not greedy for heading the Government.
Such a step will ensure that once again political power without political accountability will vest with the Nehru Gandhis. It will also contribute to the myth that Rahul Gandhi is reluctant to assume political power and would like to renounce it in favor of building and rejuvenating the Congress Party. It is beside the point that in such a situation actual political power will reside with Rahul Gandhi.
The next question that emerges is that should this renunciation take place who will be nominated as the Congress Prime Minister in 2014. My assessment is that the choice of the Nehru Gandhi’s as nominated Prime Minister would be the present Finance Minister Chidambaram. Finance Minister Chidambaram in his own right is worthy of being the Prime Minister as was reflected in one of my Columns before the 2009 General Elections.
Mr. Chidambaram in my opinion is amply capable relatively to be the next Congress Party Prime Minister but the problem is that he lacks a wide political base within the Congress Party. And that is where comes in the alternative of his being anointed as Prime Minister by Sonia Gandhi in the event of the “Second Big Political Renunciation”.
Finance Minister Chidambaram is already much visible in handling all important political briefings on behalf of the Congress Government on a wide range of vexatious political issues and challenges. Such briefings he has conducted with remarkable competence and professional acumen even when the issues are not a part of his portfolio. It cannot be forgotten that if Congress dynastic considerations are put aside Finance Minister Chidambaram stands out eminently within the Congress Party in terms of experience as Finance Minister, Home Minister and also Minister of State for Internal Security earlier.
A Congress-cobbled disparate coalition could emerge as the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be in a self-destruct mode on the issue of Narendra Modi as choice for the Prime Minister. Should the BJP elect to dispel the ambiguity of Narendra Modi as its choice for Prime Minister then it is well-nigh possible that Rahul Gandhi may not be projected as the Congress aspirant for Prime Minister.
Anything is possible in Indian politics and nothing can be ruled out conclusively nor can such assessments as above can be termed as speculative unless subsequent developments prove them to be to the contrary.