Rahul Gandhi – the ‘heir apparent’?

Washington: As per an United States Congressional report, the Indian general elections held in 2009 were a ‘coming out party of sorts’ for Rahul Gandhi, who could be put forward as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), a bipartisan and independent research wing of the US Congress, in its report dated Sep 1 is not very flattering in its comments on the Gandhi scion. It also refers to Rahul Gandhi as the ‘heir apparent’.

“The 2009 polls may have represented a coming out party of sorts for the younger Gandhi, who many expect to be put forward as Congress’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the scheduled 2014 elections,” said the report, which was made public by the Federation of American Scientists.

“Yet this heir-apparent remains dogged by questions about his abilities to lead the party, given a mixed record as an election strategist, uneasy style in public appearances and reputation for gaffes,” the CRS said.

On Congress party chief and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, it says that she is seen to wield considerable influence over the coalition’s policy-making process.

“Her foreign origins have presented an obstacle and likely was a major factor in her surprising 2004 decision to decline the chair of Prime Minister,” the report said, adding that Rahul Gandhi is widely seen as the most likely heir to Congress leadership.