Rahul Gandhi's induction into the Union Cabinet, as part of a bigger role, was the rumour of the month in India. The speculations rose as senior ministers in the Union Cabinet began resigning after meeting UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Come Sunday, the cabinet reshuffle took the air out of the balloon of media speculations. The Sunday ministerial rejig may not have seen his induction, but Team Rahul Gandhi took away the cake, in what is considered to be the last cabinet reshuffle before 2014 general elections.
Rahul, who initially in his political career was seen doing activities inviting media attention, seems to have learned few beginning lessons in political craftsmanship. The strategy of the Congress heir apparent now seems to be in place. On being asked by reporters about his bigger role in the government, he said, “I am already plunged in. You were writing that I am becoming a minister”. While he chatted away with the new youth brigade in the Union Cabinet, he also remarked, “I am talking with my ‘imprints'."
While the well-known Rahul confidant Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari was sworn in as the new Minister of State of Information & Broadcasting with Independent charge, another Rahul confidant Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh took over as the Minister of State of Home Affairs. High-profile leaders from the youth too saw a rousing welcome. Jyotiraditya Scindia was promoted to the Minister of State for Power with Independent Charge and Sachin Pilot got the Minister of State of Corporate Affairs with Independent Charge. A certain new face has been of Jitender Singh as the Minister of State for Youth affairs and Sports with Independent Charge, who replaced the dynamic Ajay Maken.
Even as Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh go to polls in November and December, the much talked about reshuffle in the government may not produce results soon, what may follow now is a massive reshuffle in the Congress inner ranks. Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Janardan Dwivedi seem to have been assigned the responsibility of observing the reshuffle.
The Congress reshuffle may as well see a certain young blood shouldering the responsibility of the party before the elections. Sources say, Rahul Gandhi who is at present the General Secretary taking care of youth organisations, may now be elevated to the position of Secretary General or Congress Working President.
The induction of youth to power in the government and Congress party is part of a larger strategy, in times when the party and the government have been stormed with corruption charges. Will the shifting of the power to new hands, which lack substantive experience, help the party in the long run? Questions galore remain unanswered. Just as a Congress Spokesperson was recently overheard narrating helplessness to a senior government official in countering corruption charges, the common man too is helpless in times of such open wrought in the governance process in India.