After two months of inaction as if a bomb had exploded, the rattled Congress in a bid to avoid choppy waters reverted to their tried-and-tested strategy of having a Gandhi at the helm by selecting Sonia Gandhi as its interim president. Ending months of an impasse in a day, the decision has been announced after series of confabulations among top Congress leaders. The decision has been announced and the Gandhi-parivar’s loyalists are jubilant.
This is notwithstanding the chatter and a a great deal of talking over past several days that Congress might see a non-Gandhi to lead the party by "electing" someone democratically. The names of Jyotiraditya scindia, Mukul Wasnik, and Mallikarjun Kharge did the rounds for the top Congress post. But instead, the 72-year-old Sonia Gandhi has been brought back to steer the party out of the moribund status.
Why can't the grand-old party look beyond the Gandhis?
The Gandhis to the Congress is as much strength as they are its weakness for being a family-rule political party. Minus the Gandhis, the Congress is populated by a motley and competing crowd of politicians who are self-serving with no larger vision for the party. The Gandhis for the Congress are a binding force who can have this competing rival lot of politicians to work in tandem. Besides the Gandhi family as a unifying factor which had the power to pull crowds, the Congress had no ideological anchor like its rival BJP, which has Hindutva at its disposal. Perhaps in the matter of time when Congress - if at all - enables leadership to evolve beside the Gandhis and have developed a strong ideological mooring, only then the party can move away from the family. Until then the status quo is the only option for the India's grand old party.
What does Sonia Gandhi bring to the table?
Sonia Gandhi comes with an experience of having been there as the party's president for 19 long years from 1998 to 2017. It was under her leadership the Congress registered two stupendous victories in 2004 and 2009, even facing off strong rival in the combine of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. She is also known to be a deal-breaker having good relations with the other Opposition parties, because of which UPA - I and II governments were pulled off successfully, albeit with corruption charges.