After a series of electoral defeats, the Congress Party, India’s largest opposition party, concluded a three-day brainstorming conclave this month with a flurry of announcements for councils, task forces and newly formed mass contact programs to spread the party’s message across the country. The aim is to reinvigorate the party’s attractiveness ahead of national elections scheduled for 2024. But none of these plans address the main problem facing the party: its leader, Rahul Gandhi.
On paper, Mr Gandhi resigned as party chairman in 2019 after leading Congress to its second consecutive nationwide election beating at the hands of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, but in practice he remains the face the more visible and the party’s star activist. The party does not seem in a hurry to choose a new president. Mr. Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, has served as interim president for the past three years.