New Delhi: The Narendra Modi enigma is baffling the Congress and sources say at the party's brainstorming session, which begins the Gujarat Chief Minister will be the biggest political issue. A large section of the Congress believes that Rahul Gandhi has to be made the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to counter Modi.
According to the sources, the Congress meeting on January 18 and 19 will discuss Modi and ways to counter him. Congress leaders are of the view that Modi will lead in the BJP's election campaign in 2014 following his third consecutive victory in Gujarat.
The Congress is finalising its strategy around Rahul Gandhi. A large section of the Congress believes that Rahul Gandhi counter Modi. Several leaders feel that Congress will benefit is Modi leads BJP's election campaign as the Minority votes will polarise in favour of the Congress.
But the biggest headache for the Congress is that Modi has acquired a reputation of being development oriented leader and is seen as the top regional leader. So the meeting will also try to come up with a strategy to counter Modi.
The party's biggest worry is that in most of the large states the party has been out of power for almost two decades. Congress has not formed government in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal for over two decades and has been out of power in Tripura, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha for nearly 10 years. Even in Andhra Pradesh where the Congress has been very strong, the rise of Jagan Mohan Reddy has come as a huge setback.
Between these political challenges, the atmosphere is also against the Congress due to corruption charges on UPA 2. So the Congress wants Rahul Gandhi to lead its election campaign.
On the other hand, BJP has not yet officially taken Modi's name as its flag bearer during the 2014 polls due to its internal tug of war. But many BJP leaders admit that Modi is the strongest contender even as Congress sources say that Bihar Nitish Kumar could break the ties with the NDA if Modi is make the prime ministerial candidate.