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Challenging the protege
Lula's reviving ambitions could set him on a collision course with 'protege' Roussef in the coming months

The stocky and bald ex-president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has been the lynchpin of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), seems to be ready to square up with his handpicked successor Dilma Rousseff for the presidential throne again. Although he has said that Brazil needs a mother (referring to Dilma Rousseff), his personal ambitions are on the ascent. He recently intoned, “I am not going to let some Tucano be President of Brazil again.” Tucano is the brash nickname for his arch rival from the opposing ‘Brazilian Social Democracy’ party. Further, he also drove home a point at a Brazilian TV show, where he said that he can contest the next election if Rousseff “doesn’t want to run.”

There is no denying the fact that Lula’s popularity in Brazil can daunt the staunchest of opposition. If he so desires, he can bring the entire country to a standstill and mesmerize voters with his charisma. After returning from successful cancer treatment, he has already started to flex muscles within his Workers’ Party. That Lula’s veto is valued by civilians was clear when Lula backed one Mr.Haddad for the Sao Paulo mayoral post, trampling the ambition of the more popular and currently serving Marta Suplicy.

So far, he has only presented himself as a back up to Rousseff. But considering that the elections are still some way off, it is quite possible that Lula is only playing himself in! But Rousseff has matched his performance and even taken some tough decisions. She has sacked eight ministers who belonged to Lula’s coterie.

These are writings on the wall that Lula cannot take his election for granted. He has to match the roll-off benefits of his protégé Rousseff. And lastly, Lula has to push back on some of his strong armed tactics; or else cracks in his relations with Rousseff could start becoming evident sooner rather than later. And that would be destructive for both.

By:- Sayan Ghosh

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