Rahul Gandhi is the fourth-generation scion of the politically powerful Nehru–Gandhi family. He is the son of Rajiv Gandhi (6th Prime Minister of India) and incumbent Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and the grandson of Feroze Gandhi and Indira Gandhi (third Prime Minister of India).
From Riding the Elephant:
There was an incredibility and inevitability about the announcement last night [on January 19] that Rahul Gandhi has been appointed vice president of India’s Congress Party, confirming his position as number two and heir apparent to Sonia Gandhi, the dynastic leader of the party and of the country’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governing coalition. It also made him an heir apparent to Manmohan Singh, the prime minister.
It was inevitable because Rahul Gandhi has been seen for years as having the right to rule India in his genes. But it was also incredible because, aged 42, he has shown little ability or interest in fulfilling that destiny, yet last night was accepted without question by grown and able Congress ministers and other party leaders. Arguably, some of those leaders would make a better job of being vice-president, but they and others see a Gandhi – and Rahul is the one to hand – as the best bet to hold the party together and provide the sort of iconic image for it to win at the polls and keep them in their posts of power and patronage.
People danced in the streets outside the party headquarters and Sonia Gandhi’s Delhi home, hailing him as their leader and future prime minister as though salvation and election victory had just been announced, not merely the long-delayed elevation of an apparently reluctant candidate.
The next general election, due by April next year, will be tough for Congress, which has performed poorly since it was elected for a second term in 2009 – as it will be for the Bharatiya Janata Party that might be led by Narendra Modi, who has the support of leading businessmen. The election is expected to lead to a hung parliament and another coalition government….