Long live the king
It’s not a question of why Rahul Gandhi’s elevation was delayed. At least, it’s done
Victoria’s reign was the “Golden Age” of the British Empire. After a tumultuous start as a young girl, where she was surrounded by avaricious, greedy advisors and an overbearing mother, she forged her own path, often taking what was not hers by hook or by crook. Things like the Koh-i-Noor diamond, or India for that matter. So when her bumbling and boisterous son took to the throne after she died, no one expected that Edward VII would be a great king, far from it, most Britons expected him to be a disaster. Edward’s name had been dragged through the mud — he had to appear in court in a divorce case, many people suspected, and some still do, that Edward himself was Jack The Ripper, the notorious London prostitute serial killer. But Edward VII turned out to be a very good king, he actually made money on his investments and didn’t need to depend on the state, and being less formal than his mother, he started an Edwardian liberalism that led to massive social improvements in the United Kingdom and the British Empire. His reign though short was one of prosperity and peace. The analogy being, Sonia Gandhi as Queen Victoria and Rahul Gandhi as Edward.
The fact is that while some in the party are pinning a lot of hope on Rahul Gandhi, an overwhelming majority of Congress party leaders and workers and a majority of Indians expect the very worst. As Rahul Gandhi ascends to the leadership of the Indian National Congress, however, we feel that he just might grow into the role. A bit of responsibility is not a bad thing. However, how will Rahul react? Even though his annual New Year’s holiday will happen after the Gujarat and Himachal election results, will he still go or prepare for the state elections due next year in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tripura, a semi-final before the 2019 General Election? Rahul’s absence from home, while his partners in the Samajwadi Party fought their internecine war, was felt in Uttar Pradesh, and while the Congress could well lose Karnataka, they have a chance, a very good chance as things stand in a couple of northern states currently held by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
However, Rahul will need to work day and night to motivate the Congress cadre and convince the electorate that he is no “Pappu”, and that will not happen through witticisms on Twitter. He will also need to elaborate on his economic policies, while he attacks the government for not creating enough jobs. How will he create those jobs and where will the money for that come from? Until now, he has given no answers. He should also move towards getting rid of the worst elements of his party, particularly those who enabled corruption, yet he will need a few good organisers and not just people to handle his social media. At the end of the day, Rahul Gandhi will need to make the Congress electable again on the national stage and that may not happen in 2019. Edward VII too took some time to settle down but he did get rid of all his mother’s worst straight-laced policies. But the next British king to have the regnal name Edward, Edward VIII, the current monarch’s uncle, didn’t last a year. Which one does he want to become?
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