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Still Possible

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The meltdown continues in the Congress. After the drama in Rajasthan that resulted in Ashok Gehlot’s transformation from the High Command’s blue-eyed boy to ‘enfante terrible’, the party is scouring around for a new ‘approved’ presidential candidate. Being served up is none other than Digvijay Singh, one of the few leaders left who can be the necessary amount of duplicitous. He has, over the years, pursued his self-interest as a ‘Congress’ leader, while keeping the Nehru-Gandhi family in the right mood. Even now, despite his advanced age, he was with Rahul Gandhi on his walkathon before being summoned to Delhi.

An important question now is whether Gehlot will remain Chief Minister of Rajasthan after having apologised to Sonia Gandhi. Has he managed to negotiate a deal that would put one of his loyalists in the CM’s chair, or will Sachin Pilot prevail. Experts are certain that a thwarted Gehlot could cause a split in the state unit of the party, or the consequences of continued uncertainty would ensure certain defeat at the polls. And to think, not so long ago Rajasthan was considered a bastion of the Congress.

And, why is Shashi Tharoor not being provided the blessings of the Gandhis instead of dredging up have-beens of the past? The reason is obvious – he is so obviously a contrast to the intellectual pretence of Rahul Gandhi. Yet, because at the end of it all it has to be decided by an election, the members of the party have an opportunity to open a new chapter. They should not complain later on that they did not have a choice! A party president in place because of his own popularity and not the blessings of the Gandhis can do wonders and bring back some of the dignity that has been lost.