Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had returned to the active politics. She had been elected Congress Parliamentary Party leader, which she gave up five years ago. She wanted to live a peaceful retired life and handed over the party to son Rahul Gandhi after the 2014 elections. She had high hopes on the son to be worthy of a leader.
Rahul Gandhi became a Pappu with his childish behaviour in politics initially. But, he emerged as a leader and people, who laughed at him, were slowly recognising him as a leader. But, that was too late and Narendra Modi could dismantle the image that Rahul Gandhi was building for himself in the national politics. The minimum income (NYAY) was sure to hit the galleries but it came too late and it could not reach the voter at the bottom. The continued talk about corruption in the Rafale aircrafts purchase did not go well as people did not believe Narendra Modi corrupt. What Rahul could have done was to expose the favouritism to the Ambanis in giving the Rafale aircrafts deal to the Reliance group. This would have helped him fetch some votes. But he gave little importance to this aspect and was heard talking about corruption, which no one took seriously.
Rahul could not build unity among Modi rivals. As head of a leading opposition party, he could have tied up with Arvind Kejriwal, Mamatha Benerji, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and others to keep all of them together. He did not do so. He could not bring the anti-Modi parties together. Though Telugu Desam Party supremo Chandrababu Naidu was helping him build the unity and buy peace with the anti-Modi parties at the national level, Rahul could not catch it. Finally, he and all Modi-critics have lost, including Chandrababu Naidu.
This had forced Sonia Gandhi to come back to active politics. She will be heading the party for next five years, spoon-feeding basic politics to Rahul Gandhi. But, what is required for the Congress and the country now is a strong leader who can unite the opposition. Will it happen for 2024?