Rahul Gandhi is establishing himself as All India Congress president. At the recently held plenary, he explained his strategy to party workers. He initiated his reforms in the party. Party sources said Rahul Gandhi’s move to replace Janardhan Dewedi with Ashok Gehlot as general secretary is a huge step. Dewedi has been serving on the post for two decades. Rahul entrusted him with the responsibility of organizational matters and training party workers and leaders. Party sources say he has begun the exercise on how to take the party ahead with the young blood. In recent times Rahul is not giving too much attention to criticism but is focusing on issues and through this strategy lashing out at the rivals. It no longer can be said that Rahul is unable to counter Narendra Modi. Political analysts say he is improving with every passing day. There is a feeling in the party that good days are ahead for Congress party and personally for Rahul. A strong opposition at the national level is also in the interest of the democracy.
After 2014 elections, Congress party faced serious crisis. By losing one state after the other, it’s very existence was at stake. Lotus was blooming across the country. Narendra Modi emerged as a leader who can’t be questioned and as a prime minister who had no rivals. At this stage, Congress party under the leadership of old leaders was feeling tough to run the party with discipline.
Sonia had respect in the party and among allies but due to health problems she could not run the party affairs effectively. Finally, Rahul took the mantle of leadership. Before that since 2013, as the party vice president he had been playing a key role in several decisions. However, the burden of the huge defeat fell on him too.
Will Congress lose its existence in three years? This was the question in many minds. The situation worsened at every level. However, from 2017 the situation started changing. It gave a tough fight and nearly came to power in prime minister’s home state Gujarat. Party sources are confident that in 2018 this change and the party’s resurrection will continue. Congress party leaders have the confidence that by 2019 elections the party’s position will improve further to match the BJP. The grand old party’s confidence is from the fact that a tough fight is likely in the elections to be held in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Rahul Gandhi has to prove his leadership qualities in the Congress which is known as dynasty party. In the past, Motilal, Jawahar, Indira, Rajiv and Sonia who all came from one family led the party. But in the times of Motilal and Jawahar, Congress did not have the identity of a family party. They were only a part of the top leadership. They were given the responsibility of leading the party due the circumstances. During Indira’s time due to the split in the party, Indira Congress took birth. Over the time, it became the national Congress. It became a purely family party. Since then Congress has been functioning in a manner in which all powers were with the party president. Indira, Rajiv and Sonia all three proved their leadership qualities on their own. Though Rajiv Gandi personally did not have any victory to his credit, the sympathy wave following the assassination of Indira Gandhi gave the party a huge mandate in 1984 elections. By the time Rahul Gandhi’s turn came, the political canvas has drastically changed. In the past, there was no party at the national level which could compete with Congress. Now BJP’s power has nearly drowned Congress. On the other hand, regional parties are showing their dominance in their respective states. Rahul’s political experience is less than 15 years. Despite this weakness, the BJP’s graph has fallen in recent times due to Modi’s self-aggrandizement. Modi is the most popular politician on social media. Rahul had very few followers. Now the number of Rahul’s followers has tripled.
Congress social networking department is trying to ensure that by the next elections this number should be at par with that of Modi. Rahul is also trying to connect with the youth by regularly tweeting on various issues. For this networking department is providing Rahul with all the information, couplets, criticism and allegations. With good response to these tweets, Rahul’s image is improving. The mainstream media is also forced to cover this. This can be cited as the proof of Rahul’s growing popularity.
There is unanimous view that if the opposition parties unite with Congress, they can stop BJP and Modi. However, some regional parties and the Left parties want secular front as the third alternative. However, brining the leaders with diverse views and egos together on one platform to take on Congress and BJP is not looking feasible. Political observers feel the split of votes will benefit BJP. Congress party is also trying to take everyone along. It is urging parties like TDP which had been opposing Congress party from day one to come together. In states like Kerala, Communists are the main rivals but the Congress party feels at the national level they should join hands. Leaders like KCR, Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerji who are keen to form third front are holding consultations with various parties. In the latest development, Chandrababu Naidu has also entered the field. Among them Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerji appear to favour a front with Congress as one of the key players. KCR and Chandrababu, however, have not made their strategy public. The fear of who will drown if the front really takes shape is creating ripples in the national politics.