Political analyst Yogendra Yadav recently created a flutter by saying that Congress must die. The founder of the Swaraj India party, during a TV channel debate, accused the Congress of failing to perform its role as a challenger to the BJP and said that it lacked the stomach for a fight. Yadav also blamed the Grand Old Party for being an "obstacle" in the path of creation of an alternative that may contest the BJP's hegemony.
Yadav's rhetorical flourish aside, it is time to confront the question anew. The Congress won 44 seats in 2014, its lowest-ever tally and five years later, it seems to have improved its fortunes by five seats if current trends hold till the end. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad in Kerala in addition to his pocket borough " Amethi. Just as well. Once again, if trends hold true, then Smriti Irani is all set to hand Rahul an Amethi humiliation. That will be a symbolic and telling blow to dynastic politics, whose time is up.
It doesn't need to necessarily die, but it must not allow itself to be led by a fifth generation dynast who clearly lacks leadership acumen and necessary skill-set. As long as the Congress remains a Gandhi Family Enterprise that drove out talented and ambitious leaders such as Sharad Pawar or Mamata Banerjee to clear the path for a Gandhi to lead the party, it shall see its footprint reduced further and may end up becoming a regional outfit. It surely looks like a regional party now with only Kerala as the lone bright spot on a dismal day.
For democracy to flourish in India, tension between the Opposition and ruling party is a prerequisite. Congress is still suited for that role but only if it dumps the dynasty and reposes faith in a new leader elected through a truly democratic internal process. Not a sham as we have come to expect from Congress. So for India's and the Congress' own sake, Rahul must go.