Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Amethi.

Clumsy to Confident, a Look at Rahul Gandhi’s Political Journey

Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers for election to the Congress president's post on Monday, 4 December. As he steps up to the mantle after 13 years in active politics, here’s a look back at his career.

From politically clumsy to confident, Gandhi has had an eventful journey. He entered electoral politics with the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, winning his father, Rajiv Gandhi's old seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2007, he was made Congress general secretary. It was apparent he was training to become Prime Minister, the first from the Nehru-Gandhi family after his father was assassinated in 1991. But there were questions about whether he was ready, or even eager – critics have often referred to him as the “reluctant prince”.

In 2009, Congress saw a resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Gandhi retained his Amethi seat, and was credited with reviving the party in UP.

But come 2012, and Congress failed to register the same performance in the UP Assembly elections, for which Gandhi publicly accepted responsibility.

In 2013, he became the vice president of his party, and the following year he led its campaign for the general elections. The Congress suffered its worst defeat under his leadership. Gandhi offered to resign, but was not permitted to.

Through relentless ridicule by his opposition, and a few long holidays at "undisclosed locations", Gandhi has emerged increasingly sure-footed. His rallies and Twitter timeline have recently seen a surge of confidence – he seems to have come of age.

But can Rahul 2.0 work his charm? It remains to be seen.

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