Congress President Rahul Gandhi has made a sustained and aggressive bid to become PM. In fact, many months before the election, he declared himself the PM candidate. Sadly for him, his alliance partners stoutly refused to accept him as their PM. Other than Stalin and Deve Gowda, none of the others seemed interested to form a grand alliance under his leadership. Mayawati and Akhilesh, in fact, ignored the Congress and formed their own alliance.
Now that the first phase of elections has begun, political temperatures are soaring. Rahul tried to set it ablaze by making a so-called game-changer announcement of 72,000 per year sop to BPL families. But soon it became apparent that not many people were taken in by this. This was not helped by Rahul’s own bloopers in his speeches. Even well-known anti-Modi writers like Swaminathan Aiyar have dismissed this scheme as non-workable.
On the other hand, after Balakot, the ASAT launch announcement by Modi continues to make him more and more popular. Survey after survey shows him with a popularity rating of more than half the electorate. Polls have clearly indicated that the NDA will get a majority on its own comfortably. Is there any chance though for Rahul Gandhi to do something. Can he continue his aggressive attacks on the PM and hope to dent his image? Can any more grandiose announcements from him help turn the tide in his favour?
An analysis of the present situation paints a very stark picture for the Congress President. There is no chance, absolutely no chance for Rahul Gandhi to be PM. Here’s why:
What is likely to happen?
It seems clear that the advantage is with Modi and the BJP. Rahul failed miserably in making alliances in UP and Bengal and struggled to build up a front in Bihar. Amit Shah, on the other hand, went out of his way to reach out to the allies and sewed up deft alliances in Maharashtra, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu. In spite of the arithmetical strengths of the SP-BSP alliance in UP, the BJP seems to be on a strong wicket.
With the NDA projected to win, it won’t be surprising if the BJP gets a majority on its own like last time. Which is why PM Modi has confidently predicted 300 seats. When it is clear that only BJP has a chance to win, it can swing undecided voters in their direction. Knowing Modi and Shah, they would have some more googlies ready to flummox Rahul & Co. This clearly indicates that it is curtains for Rahul’s dreams of becoming PM.
What if things go wrong for BJP?
Assuming a worst case scenario for the BJP, let’s see if Rahul can make it. Let’s assume Rahul’s incessant attacks on Modi and his sops results in BJP losing ground from now till the election is over. The likely scenario then will be that the BJP may come down to 200 seats and the NDA 240. Even in this scenario, Modi has nothing to worry about. KCR and Jagan Reddy between them are likely to get 28-34 seats in AP & Telangana. They would have no qualms supporting Modi, of course after demanding their pound of flesh. So, even in this scenario, Rahul’s chances are extremely bleak.
Let’s assume the worst of the worst scenarios. NDA which is predicted to cross 270 falls to 200. Does Rahul have a chance? No!! The simple reason is with 70 seats short, the likes of Maya and Mamta will come to play. They may agree to support someone other than Modi as PM, maybe Gadkari or Rajnath with Maya as Dy PM. Alternately Maya may be PM with BJP’s outside support is their seat count falls badly. One thing is clear, BJP will not allow Rahul to be PM, they would prefer to make adjustments with others.
It seems very clear that the Congress President has absolutely no chance of becoming PM in any scenario. Having lost the opportunity in 2019, it is highly unlikely he can try again in 2024. It seems to be curtains for Rahul’s PM ambitions. The only way he can be PM is a repeat of 2004 with Congress getting more seats than BJP. But that in the present scenario this can be completed ruled out.
So, we can conclude that Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s chances of becoming PM are zilch. He had an opportunity to be a statesman and become the leader of a united alliance. He had a chance of becoming a leader respected by the people taking on the BJP on issues of national importance. He frittered all his chances away with his arrogance in treating allies and his mindless personal attacks on the PM. He has himself to blame for missing out on a chance to reclaim what his family thinks is their birthright.