The 2017 Gujarat election is only the first among many challenges which Rahul Gandhi will have to handle as the Congress president.
Gujarat is a straight contest between the Congress and BJP, the former would have to achieve a vote swing of at least 10-11 percentage points in order to defeat the BJP. Can Rahul Gandhi manage this difficult feat?
The party suffered a shock defeat in the 2014 elections after two consecutive stints in power. The 2004 and 2009 victories have sort of hidden the larger political challenges facing the Congress.
The BJP is more capable when it comes to guarding its support base against the Congress.
It is Rahul’s ability which has allowed the present BJP leadership to embark on its mission of creating a Congress Mukth Bharat.
A lot of analysts and politicians will rush to judge Rahul Gandhi’s leadership abilities on the basis of the Gujarat election results, good or bad.
Rahul’s ultimate success or failure, however, would depend on whether or not he can arrest the consistent erosion in his party’s support across the length and breadth of India.