Will Rahul Gandhi become a minister?

I must confess that I'd actually be quite pleased if he becomes Prime Minister. It would show that he's willing to work his way up, rather than simply stepping into the top job without any prior administrative experience. His father Mr. Rajiv Gandhi did, but those were exceptional circumstances and hopefully will never be repeated.

If Rahul were to become a minister, which ministry would he take? Going by his track-record, it wouldn't be a very high-profile one like finance or home. Instead, he'd probably choose something that is relatively low-key, but capable of making a huge difference to people's lives -- maybe human resource development or rural development.

But first, Rahul must be willing to become a minister. And I don't think he will. Because he's an earnest person who doesn't do anything half-heartedly. If he were to accept a ministry, he'd do his homework and work hard to make his stint there a success. And that would divert precious time and energy away from his pet project: The revival of the Congress in the Hindi heartland.

The Congress stunned everybody by getting 21 seats in Uttar Pradesh this time. But it's still behind the SP and BSP, even if only marginally. In Bihar, it got just two seats. In other words, the Congress has a total of 23 seats out of a possible 120 in these two states. If it could significantly improve that tally in the next Lok Sabha elections, it would probably be in a position to form the government on its own, without needing the support of any temperamantal allies. I'm sure that's Rahul's long-term goal. After many initial hiccups, his dream project is finally showing some signs of achieving success. Why would he want to take his foot of the accelerator at this crucial stage?

So, my guess is that Rahul will prefer to stay on as Congress general secretary and work to strengthen the party's organisation across India, with special emphasis on the heartland where it is finally showing signs of revival after years in the wilderness. Unless, of course, he chooses to become a minister without portfolio, which would leave him free of day-to-day responsibilities, while giving him the opportunity to attend Cabinet meetings and shape government decisions on crucial issues.



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