I think Rahul Gandhi will never become PM of India. Because he doesn’t want to.
Indian National Congress is increasingly being run as a corporate entity where the promoters are letting professional managers run the day to day business. Gandhi family may not be promoters of Congress but they are letting the Manmohans and Chidambarams and Mukherjees run the daily affairs while they pull the strings from behind without any direct responsibility.
Gandhi family is the glue that binds the Congress together. It keeps the egos of mighty leaders in check. It works two ways, in one way it fixes a supreme leader so there is no internal power struggle among the bigwigs for the top post and at the same time it removes a kind of glass ceiling and gives every leader an opportunity to aim for highest posts of the country – presidency or prime ministership.
Rahul Gandhi is inexperienced and naive and that gives comfort to other big leaders which in turn keeps them in Congress and keeps Congress intact. When there was no Gandhi at helm, Congress was in disarray and out of power. Sonia came and Congress came back to power. A party needs leader. BJP was disorganised till Modi’s emergence as the top leader. Having a single leader boosts morale of the grassroots level workers. It gives the party a face. Till yesterday it was Sonia Gandhi now its Rahul Gandhi. That’s why Congress needs a Gandhi – to be its face.
And then Gandhis give space to others to run the government. It absolves them of taking direct responsibility of government decisions and an escape route in case the government does something unpopular – like the convicted MPs bill scenario where Rahul Gandhi emerged as a saviour and called the bill rubbish after seeing the mood of the public. Day was saved. Rahul got to be hero and Congress saved the face.
Even if Rahul or Sonia may harbour PM ambition for Rahul, they can not risk pitting him against Narendra Modi. Rahul vs Modi is a lost battle as far as Congress is concerned and Modi has won the battle hands down. There is no Modi wave in the country but there certainly isn’t a Rahul wave either and there will never be. BJP and the Sangh parivar have systematically destroyed the image of Rahul Gandhi at least amongst the urban populace.
And it doesn’t look to me that Rahul himself has any interest in becoming PM. He has never taken any position in the cabinet. To me he seems a reluctant politician like his father. But he doesn’t have charisma of his father or of his grand mother and I believe Rahul knows it.
This is what I think but politics is a funny game. You can never be too sure.