There is usually a method to the madness in Congress, and nothing is ever said without thought. Kamal Nath’s surprise announcement of Rahul Gandhi being the party’s prime ministerial candidate for 2024 had many within the Congress intrigued as to why he said it – an opinion quickly echoed by Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. The veteran political strategist was integral in forming UPA in 2004, and has been close to the Gandhis for years, so his statement wasn’t made without consideration. It was mirrored by Baghel’s endorsement too; he too has been close to Priyanka over the years.

Is Rahul going to be the PM’s face?

Rahul Gandhi has not been the PM face for Congress leaders for the first time, but from the moment he became Congress president (and later relinquished the position). Rahul made it clear that he did not want the post but took it up after the party demanded it, and many close to him mellowed down and responded meekly to any question about him facing off against Narendra Modi.

Recently, however, many top party leaders have been saying in one voice, “It’s time to bite the bullet, i.e., Rahul Gandhi should be the main face against the BJP in 2024.” These discussions took place with poll strategist Prashant Kishor and the announcement that Sonia Gandhi would be exiting the party.