Election analysis

Congress’s great dynastic hope

In an article in the Economist at the start of this electoral season, a long-lens look at the Congress’ position, its chances, the economy and of course that great big debate about dynastic rule, visited in a nutshell.

Congress’s more distant hope—for a national revival under Rahul Gandhi—looks dicey. Its Gandhi cult unites a party that would probably fracture without it, as happened after Rajiv Gandhi’s death. Yet Congress’s relentless shrinkage under Gandhi leadership—including in the last election, when its overall vote-share actually fell—is evidence of the family’s diminishing appeal. It will take more than a new Gandhi to woo many people back from regional and caste-based parties, which are more obviously devoted to dispensing the patronage poor Indians crave.

Mr Gandhi, who can seem an awkward politician, though he is clearly well-intentioned and no fool, knows this. In an interview in Delhi on March 30th, the day before he launched his campaign in Wardha, he was keen to discuss his ambitions—and fledgling efforts—to make Congress more democratic. His vision is a party in which “it doesn’t necessarily matter who your mother is or who your father is but how many supporters you have in the district.”

And the entire article here.


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