India is asking the same old question after news reports said Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday before a possible cabinet reshuffle later this month: will Gandhi be one of the cards in his deck?
Gandhi’s entry into the government would be the only opportunity for him to prove that he has what it takes to one day rule India. He’s seen as the prime-minister-in-waiting, and a cabinet post would better equip him to deal with the hurly-burly of Indian politics.
Several cabinet posts are vacant, and some cabinet ministers hold additional portfolios. And even after passing market-moving reform measures, Congress’ task of boosting its public image is incomplete.
If you go by age, Gandhi is 42, just about ripe. David Cameron became the youngest prime minister of Britain at 44. When Barack Obama took over as the 44th American president, he was 47. Gandhi’s grandmother and India’s first woman to serve as prime minister, Indira Gandhi, was appointed Congress president when she was in her early 40′s.
But Rahul has never expressed willingness to join the government or lead the Congress party. He wants to work with the people. The Uttar Pradesh poll disaster, in which the Congress party suffered a major setback, perhaps makes it more attractive for him to take the humble approach.