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Apr 15, 2015  ( Agencies) :Some people make everybody happy wherever they go; some whenever they go.The tragedy of Rahul Gandhi is not just that he makes his critics happy every time he disappears. He is a disaster because even his party leaders do not want him to return. For some of them even the idea is scary.A few weeks ago, when Rahul had proceeded on a sabbatical, it was presumed that Congress leaders would yearn for his return, that they would realise that it is difficult to run the Congress without him. Even Rahul would have hoped that absence would make the hearts of Congress workers and leaders grow fonder of him.Instead, their minds have now begun to wander in search of an alternative."I am yet to meet anybody who has any critical remarks to make about the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. I can say it with absolute confidence. Whereas (in case of) Rahul, of course, there is a question mark, there is skepticism because you have not seen him perform as yet," former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said on Monday.Implicit in Sheila’s kahani is the moral: the Congress is much better with Sonia running the show. Rahul, on the other hand, can continue to holiday.Dikshit’s is not the only red flag for Rahul’s return and imminent anointment as the Congress resident. Punjab heavyweight Amarinder Singh and Dikshit’s son Sandeep had also publicly expressed their preference for Sonia over Rahul.Junior Dikshit had earlier this month said that Sonia is the "leader" for "99 percent of partymen" and she was needed at the helm now more than ever. Singh had said Sonia should retain Congress presidentship and a generational change cannot be done "with a knife".You’ve got to pity the Congress.Moving away from the past, building on it for a new future, is the basic principle of evolution. But for that to happen, the future has to hold out the promise of achche din. But the Congress has begun to fear what lies ahead. It doesn’t want to move forward and has tethered its hopes and aspirations to an ageing mother who, on her part, is doomed to wait for her son to step up. It is a tragic status-quo, a deathly inertia.The odd equation— loyalists want mother, mother wants son, and nobody knows what the son wants — is unlikely to last. Since Sonia can’t go on forever, the Congress will have to either choose a new leader or accept the heir apparent as a fait-accompli.The Congress knows that it can’t survive without the Gandhis. As long as even one of them is around, workers and leaders will gravitate towards them. Even if he remains a token, incompetent presence, like Bahadurshah Zafar with whom he is often compared, Rahul will remain the choice, mostly by default.If the party could have split, it would have by now. The drubbing in Lok Sabha election, debacle in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand and the annihilation in Delhi assemblies were valid reasons for rebellion. But since nothing has happened so far, since Congress leaders continue to depend on the dynasty for revival, there is very little chance that Rahul will face a challenge from within, unless Sonia herself endorses someone from outside the family.
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