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Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi with senior party leaders arrives to file his nomination papers at the party headquarters, New Delhi, India, Dec. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

Rahul Gandhi’s Ascendance to Head India’s Congress Reflects a Bankrupt Party

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017

On Dec. 4, Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India’s dynastic Gandhi-Nehru family, submitted forms to take over the leadership of the Indian National Congress party from his mother, Sonia Gandhi. Later this month, he is set to become the sixth member of his family to head the party. Since suffering a defeat in the 2014 elections to the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, Congress’ popularity has fallen to the lowest point in its long and storied history. In an email interview, Sumit Ganguly, a professor of political science and Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington, describes what the young Gandhi’s stewardship means for Congress’ future, and why India’s broader political opposition looks ill-equipped to take on the powerful, Hindu nationalist BJP.

WPR: What did Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to head the Congress party signal about the state of the party and its prospects for the future? ...

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