There has already been much written about the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha following his arbitrary conviction by a Surat Court in a defamation case, which could perhaps bar him from contesting the 2024 Parliamentary poll. The legal luminaries representing the Congress are already working out a plan to get the judgment quashed, but till that is done, he may not be eligible to contest any election for several years. Although most opposition leaders have condemned the tearing hurry in which Rahul’s disqualification was processed, describing it as the “most undemocratic measure’’, yet there is relief in certain political circles, that it would be now easier to forge an opposition alliance against the BJP for 2024. So Far, the impediment for many was, that if such a coalition came into existence, the Congress, which would have to be a part of it, would have insisted on Rahul being the spearhead. This was the reason, why many in the grand old party were also of the opinion that Rahul in the Raipur Plenary itself, should have declared that he would not be the nominee for the Prime Ministership. Now the disqualification has facilitated an ease of doing business with the Congress, so far as opposition outfits are concerned, and Rahul not being there in the game could probably help. Of course, the consequences of the disqualification are yet to sink in and things could certainly take a different turn. However, this is certain that the Opposition nominee who would seek to dislodge Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be a non-Gandhi. In any case, many Opposition leaders have already declared that the next Parliamentary poll should be fought without projecting a face and it is only after the results, should this commence, in order to prevent any pre-poll claims by various groups. What needs to be understood is that the Congress would still call the shots since it is pitted directly against the BJP in nearly 200 seats and the outcome of these would be most important for whoever forms the next government. This is where the BJP appears to have fumbled. If Rahul had been in the game, it would have been far easier to make it into a Modi versus Rahul contest and the Prime Minister would have certainly been at a great advantage keeping in view the BJP’s ability to provide political spins at the right time. Now the Congress shall have to rely on its regional leaders to deliver in these 200 seats and many ambitious Congress leaders may also be thinking that they could be eligible for being considered for the top post in the unlikely event of the BJP being humbled. These leaders would add to the well-known list of top Opposition leaders who are claimants for the august post already, and may not easily withdraw themselves. From the BJP’s point of view, the Modi versus Who contest may pose a big problem also. While Modi’s supporters would claim that there was no body to take on the Prime Minister, the situation on the ground could be both unpredictable and slippery. As things stand today, the BJP and its allies would be clear winners. But one year is an extremely long time in politics and things can change. The BJP cannot afford to get less than 272 seats and if the number for some reason gets reduced, the political narrative and the reality may change. Politics has always been a game of possibilities and therefore remains a fascinating phenomenon. Rahul has announced that he would continue to work to serve the people even without being a member of any of the Houses in parliament. This is perhaps that has been destined for him and the office of the Prime Minister shall continue to elude the Gandhis, at least for some time or this is how it appears, at this juncture. However, he and the Gandhis need to be in the Congress to ensure unity within the organization, which needs to be strengthened, if it has to take on the might of the BJP in the future.
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