In Fractious Political Times, a Scion of India’s Dynasty Stays Quiet

The India’s governing party has no shortage of problems: a sinking economy, corruption scandals and anti-incumbency mood among voters. But perhaps the greatest uncertainty facing the party, and to some degree all of India, is Rahul Gandhi, the anointed next-generation leader. For decades, the Indian National Congress Party has billed itself as party most capable of holding fractious country together, while Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty has held the Congress Party together. The family has produced three prime ministers and one very powerful daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi, the party president, who has carefully sought to advance her son, Rahul. But if this is supposed to be Mr. Gandhi’s moment, it is unclear that he wants to seize it or what he will do with it, or if a chaotically changing, fitfully modernizing India is still enthralled with Gandhi mystique. Gandhis remain country’s only national political brand, proving resilient over decades, but their appeal now seems tarnished, just as India’s global luster has also suffered. To understand Gandhi’s unique position in India’s political landscape, consider the events of just the past few days: Eager for a jolt of energy, Congress Party-led government announced a major cabinet reshuffle on Oct. 28. Many analysts thought Mr. Gandhi might take cabinet post to burnish his credentials as a future candidate for prime minister. But he declined. Then, Gandhi seemed poised to assume a bigger role in the Congress Party, in a newly created job second only to his mother’s. That still may happen, but by week’s end, even as Indian media reported Mr. Gandhi was quietly exerting more political influence, it was unclear if there would be any new job at all. Party spokesmen said Gandhi was already second in command, anyway. Mr. Gandhi, 42, has said nothing on the subject. On Sunday, appeared at a big Congress Party rally, taking a few shots at the opposition. But often he is conspicuously absent in the noisy swirl of Indian politics, silence that has allowed critics to question whether there is much to him besides his name. “We did not get chance to have Rahul’s analysis on any critical issue facing the nation in Parliament,” said Mohan Singh, a leader in the regional Samajwadi Party, at news conference in Kolkata in September. “When one does not hear him speak, how can one say the country will be secure in his hands?” Just being a member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty usually has been enough to win votes, public confidence. Mr. Gandhi’s appearances are regularly carried on India’s news channels, most of them photo opportunities or tightly scripted speeches. Handsome, regarded as modest, serious-minded, popular, has long been offered by party strategists as a symbol of generational change, even though he is now almost a generation older than young voters he is supposed to attract (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/world/asia/in-india-rahul-gandhi-stays-behind-the-scenes.html

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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