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Will Rahul Gandhi join cabinet or lead it?

Heir-apparent in the Nehru-Gandhi family and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday and is slated to meet President Pranab Mukherjee. The abrupt rush in high-level meetings clearly point at not merely Rahul joining the cabinet but taking over the helm of affairs as Prime Minister and lead the party in the next general elections.

Here are five reasons why Rahul may take over the mantle as Prime Minister now than delaying the much-expected move further as Dr Manmohan Singh is not spared by the anti-corruption campaigners any longer.

The time is right for Rahul Gandhi to lead the party as he is the only one with a no corruption charges in the party right now and his leadership may prove less problematic for the Nehru-Gandhi family. With his brother-in-law Robert Vadra facing charges of entering underhand land dealings, Priyanka is ruled out for ever as an option.

The choice for Rahul Gandhi was, indeed, a Hobson’s choice as it is now or never for the young leader to revive the sagging image of the party and emerge stronger sooner than later. His single-handed efforts at refining the party image in Uttar Pradesh proved futile in the last elections. If he enters the government, he can sit in the opposition at least after the next elections.

The current political situation is highly volatile that allies like Trinamool Congress, DMK and the Samajwadi Party are likely to disassociate with Congress’s policies once the economic reforms are pushed ahead under Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

The fallout of economic reforms clearly indicate that the Congress may lose the election, if held now. The best strategy is not to pricipitate early elections unless Rahul is given a chance to control the situation as closely as possible from the powers of corridor, lest it may be a while for him to learn nuances of power control from the South Block.

If not becoming Prime Minister, he may step into the cabinet as deputy prime minister the way L.K. Advani forced himself to the helm of affairs when BJP Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpaee was portrayed weak and corruption scandals began to envelope the party.

It is to be seen whether we are going to see Rahul Gandhi merely as another cabinet minister or as deputy prime minister or even as the next Prime Minister.

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