Rahul Gandhi Poster Boy for Resilient India

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Dec. 23 – With the Indian National Congress Party having won three out of five state elections leading up to the national polls in May 2009, Rahul Gandhi, 38, the son of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi is being touted as the poster boy for a strong, resilient India.

Desperatly trying to improve their image for the elections, Rahul Gandhi is being viewed as the Congress Party's trump card, hoping to turn public opinion away from the economic downturn and terrorist attacks that have recently marred the country and secure them another tenure. Being gradually grommed by his mother for a leadership position within the congress since 2004, the party hopes he can help them win votes from the younger, intellectual, aspirational class who are increasingly making their voice heard.

Rahul will play a bigger role in the future. He has become the third pole in the congress after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi," All India congress committee general secretary Prithviraj Chavan told the Hindu. "Sixty-five percent people are young in this country. Rahul has emerged as a lead campaigner for the party. He has great appeal for the youth of the country and Youth Congress workers," Chavan added.

Viewed as the imcumbet congress' star attraction this election, Rahul Gandhi entered politics during the last national elections in 2004 contesting from his father's former constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of Parliament. Often viewed as a shy and reticent man, Gandhi is mostly publicly seen as an intellectual standing strong behind his mother. Having exceled in local politics in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi stepped up to general secretary of the AICC on September 24, 2007. During the reshuffle, he was also given charge of the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India.