Rahul Gandhi (PTI file)
Rahul Gandhi (PTI file)

Opinion | The Congress’ Choice

The Grand Old Party needs a young leader at its helm to re-energize itself and reorient its vision to meet the aspirations of a young and restless nation

Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as Congress president last week seems to have presented a fait accompli to leaders under whose watch the party performed abysmally in the recent Lok Sabha elections. The sense of conviction and accountability with which Gandhi first offered to resign immediately after the poll results, and then quit formally, has triggered a wave of high-profile resignations in the party. Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was Congress general secretary in-charge of Western Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls, has stepped down, while Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora has quit, saying he looked forward to a “national" role to help stabilize the party.

Gandhi has often rued that he was left to fight the electoral battle alone, and that senior leaders focused their energies on the election of their progeny, compromising the larger interests of the party. Yet, several of the so-called Old Guard still seem unwilling to let go. This has apparently made it difficult to unite the faction-ridden party around a clear agenda. What is common sense to observers still appears to be deepening divisions: The party’s need for a new generation to take on the mantle. Senior Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said as much. “The Congress needs young blood to galvanise its rank and file, and once again make it India's preferred and only choice," Singh said.

The people of India deserve a credible and strong opposition to air their concerns and aspirations. The Congress, with its national footprint and long legacy, has the potential to occupy and make the most of that space. It has a historic responsibility to get its act together. The Grand Old Party needs a young leader at its helm to re-energize itself and reorient its vision to meet the aspirations of a young and restless nation.

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