INC and Rahul Gandhi: Not a better love story than Twilight has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.
Pappu. Entitled. Gandhi Scion. The Product of Italian Nepotism.
As time has gone by, the name calling hasn’t gone down. Rahul Gandhi has been constantly trolled. Since the Indian National Congress’ massive defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the memes have only increased in number and intensity. According to him,
“There is a BJP machine: about a thousand guys sitting on computers. They basically tell you things about me. They tell you I am reluctant, I am reluctant. And all they do is spread abuse about me. And the operation is run by the gentleman who is running our country.”
Irrationally suspicious? Maybe.
Mad? Absolutely not.
After the defeat in 2014, the entire UPA leadership collapsed. Rahul Gandhi even had to take a tour abroad to re-align his inner chakras and get back in a better shape. Unfortunately, even after all that, He still is in the crosshairs of the humongous saffron cloud that encompasses Bharat. And after the fall of the holy (Congress) Trinity, the firing squad is now solely targeting the scion of Gandhi. Following his nomination yesterday, he will take over as the 60th President of a 132-year-old political party, where he might finally understand that pedigree and legacy can be a problem. Moreso, if you are unable to cement them with solid, measurable achievements. He has to take the helm on a ship that many believe has already sunk. He also needs to rejuvenate the crumbling party organization from scratch for the 2019 elections.
Right now, at the centre of attention are the assembly elections in Gujarat. Although Rahul Gandhi seems like a good opponent, his alliance with Hardik Patel and other caste leaders don’t seem to be enough. Even if they are able to stop BJP from getting the historic majority the latter is aiming for, winning against BJP in Gujarat seems nigh impossible. Let’s talk about the big picture — 2019 elections, something that everyone is looking forward to. The question that still lurks within Congress and the heart of RaGa supporters is: Will Rahul Gandhi be the face of Congress in 2019?
According to me, he should not be. His image has only just begun to improve, and is one of many, many reasons that can only be summed up by “बूंद-बूंद से भरता है सागर। ”
Even if he wins, trolls will label him with something new. He will be the new accidental Prime Minister. But 2019 will certainly not be a cakewalk for Modi either. In 2014, BJP knew the emotional state of the voters. They were tired of the constant scams, Congress’ participation in the same, and hated the fact that their Prime Minister was but a mere puppet. They wanted someone who has a mind of their own, can stand up to the task at hand and Make India Great Again.
BJP, owing to a hasty demonetization and convoluted GST rollout is facing widespread dissatisfaction. The broken promises of acche din made during the 2014 election campaigns will be the biggest hurdle alongside other important issues like unemployment, economic slowdown, among many others. That is the price you pay for being in the spotlight. On the centre-stage, even the smallest of accusations have the ability to take down the sharpest political mind.
Secondly, no amount of likes, retweets or comments (especially from bots in Kazakhstan) are going to matter unless you have the ground support required for the big event. How wise is it to rely on Pidi to win on a social media spectrum where BJP dominates? Even in 2014, although social media played its part, it was the charisma of Modi, the perseverance of the vast network of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) karyakartas and Amit Shah’s tactfulness that won them the coveted seat.
One of the major turning points in 2014 elections was one comment. It only took one comment that led to the dominoes falling against Rahul Gandhi’s campaign. The “chaiwala” comment by Mani Shankar Aiyer was basically Congress giving Modi the Brahma-Astra, on which he cashed in quite beautifully.
Right now as the D-day is getting close, the election bells have started to sound a lot like warning bells. With opinion polls predicting INC losing Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections and BJP retaining power in Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi has to tread very carefully as to not let another trip wire cause the same downfall as 2014. As the president of Congress, the first task for him will be to take control of his fellow party members. Leaving aside the likes of Shashi Tharoor, his party sure has some issues with words.
But the Goliath to this David will be to turn his sails in the right direction and stop being at the centre of the ire from both—the Bhartiya-Aavam and the opposition. Things like being ignorant towards World Bank’s report and accusing the Finance Minister of doctoring such certificates are very unbecoming of someone who aims to lead this country. Aligning with three caste leaders in a state where caste politics lay dead is not progressive. Even if it does manage to win him a couple of elections, will it take the country forward?
It was the dream of development and acche din well sold that won the game for Modi and co. Gandhi, then, needs to find the areas where BJP lacks, let go of the past and move forward with vigour. Rahul Gandhi should know that fealty can be a fickle thing, and if the Congress (like Donald Trump) are able to sail their boats right in the ocean of trends and hashtags, he might just have a fair chance at winning the 2019 elections.
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