After a string of electoral losses, the Congress Party, India’s largest opposition party, concluded a three-day brainstorming conclave this month with a flurry of announcements about newly formed councils, task forces and mass contact programs to spread the party’s message across the country. The goal is to reinvigorate the party’s appeal ahead of national elections scheduled for 2024. But none of these plans dealt with the main problem facing the party: its leader, Rahul Gandhi.
On paper, Mr. Gandhi resigned as party president in 2019 after leading Congress to its second straight national electoral drubbing at the hands of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, but in practice he remains the party’s most visible face and star campaigner. The party appears to be in no hurry to choose a new president. Mr. Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, has served as interim president for the past three years.