Share Opinion This article first appeared on Riding the Elephant. At last the years of waiting are over. Rahul Gandhi, the 47-year old “pop up” vice president of India’s Congress Party, is being elected – anointed would be more accurate – as the party president. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Nominations for the post closed this afternoon with no rival candidate emerging and generations of top Congress politicians gathered in the party’s headquarters to congratulate the “young” Gandhi, who has been resisting his coronation for years. By the end of this month, when the formalities are completed, Rahul Gandhi will succeed his mother Sonia, who will be 71 on December 9 and is not in good health. She has held the post for 19 years, waiting for him to be ready and willing to inherit the dynastic mantle of his father and her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991. Rahul Gandhi’s succession has been widely mocked and criticised for its lack of democracy and the inevitability of his rise during a laborious and long delayed countrywide candidate selection process, with no rival emerging. Prime minister Narendra Modi today congratulated the Congress on their “Aurangzeb Raj,” a reference to the undemocratic succession of India’s Mughal rulers. Rahul Gandhi meets Indian farmers from Tamil Nadu as they protest in New Delhi on March 31, 2017. MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty “Rahul has been the darling of the Congress men and Congress women and this is yet another step in his devotion to the Congress party and country,” former prime minister Manmohan Singh, 85, told a television reporter in a remark that seemed unnecessarily eulogistic but in fact echoed the views of most Congress politicians who believe the party would break up without a Gandhi at the top. How well Rahul Gandhi does or does not do as party leader – and many expect a negative rather than a positive outcome – is of vital importance for the future of Indian politics and the country’s noisy and chaotic but effective democracy. If he emerges from the ineffectual role he has played since he entered politics in 2004, the Congress could again become a major force, working with other