CWC green-lights Rahul Gandhi's march to party presidency: Media believes he must send out positive message, take on BJP

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) cleared the stage for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of India's 'grand old party'.

FP Staff November 21, 2017 12:50:41 IST
CWC green-lights Rahul Gandhi's march to party presidency: Media believes he must send out positive message, take on BJP

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday met in New Delhi and announced the schedule for the election of the party's next president, clearing the stage for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of India's 'grand old party'.

Internal voting to choose the new vice-president will be held on 16 December however, the 19-day process will begin on 1 December, which is well before the crucial Gujarat Assembly election.

CWC greenlights Rahul Gandhis march to party presidency Media believes he must send out positive message take on BJP

File image of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

The 47-year-old Congress leader is expected to take charge as early as 5 December after the nominations are scrutinised or 11 December, which is the last date for withdrawal of nominations, as The Indian Express said in a report.

Since his speech at University of California in Berkeley, Gandhi has been making quite an impression on the media. As this article in Firstpost points out, "...just a few years before, it was easier to lampoon Gandhi because we knew very little about him... But, suddenly, Gandhi has begun to impress upon us that, like all of us, he is a human being too, with his own character and personality, weaknesses and strengths."

It therefore, becomes pertinent to look at how the media reacted to Gandhi's imminent coronation after the CWC meet on Monday.

While saying how there are people who expect a new beginning and a possible revival of the party through Gandhi's elevation, an editorial in Hindustan Times said that much will depend on how Gandhi chooses to run the party. He has his task cut out. The editorial says that the Congress has lacked a strong positive message, has been unable to shed the baggage of corruption scandals and its rank is demoralised due to successive electoral defeats. "His elevation may address the third issue, but to succeed, Gandhi will have to work on the other two."

An editorial in The Times of India said that Gandhi's impending elevation within Congress is long overdue. While saying that it made little sense to delay the matter further, the editorial argued that he has done a good job of leading the Congress campaign for Gujarat. It praised Gandhi for leading from the front and taking the fight to BJP in that state and said he has infused fresh energy into Congress.

The editorial in DNA titled it as 'an uneasy crown'. While acknowledging that the Congress leader has come into his own in the last few months, the editorial said that that is not to say there has been a complete turnaround as far as Gandhi is concerned. The editorial called out the party for failing the Gandhi scion by not being able to outshine the BJP in its IT cell reach and listed out a number of issues where Gandhi will have to focus his energies after being elevated. First is to change the public perception that Congress is a party of elites and filling the shoes of his mother, who can boast of a brilliant track record in managing fierce infighting.

An article on Scroll contended that having Gandhi take the reins in early December makes sense because the process of his elevation was seen more as being about image management than any political maneuvering. Talking about the timing of the announcement, he said that it is designed to get the Congress as much media attention as possible in the days just before Gujarat votes on 9 and 14 December.

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