Why Rahul Gandhi is essential to the ‘different imaginative and prescient’ wanted to displace Modi

Bharat Jodo Rahul meeting people

By asserting the Congress’s centrality to any anti-BJP formation and thru the sheer optics of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi has thrown his hat within the ring as Modi’s challenger within the 2024 Lok Sabha elections

Among the many panoply of Opposition leaders, Rahul Gandhi is the one one to have had the braveness of conviction to embark on a 3,570-km cross-country foot march to “unite India”. File photograph

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s assertion of a “huge undercurrent” towards the BJP and his underscoring the necessity for a united Opposition to current to the citizens an “different imaginative and prescient” as a pre-requisite for displacing Narendra Modi from energy within the 2024 Lok Sabha polls has expectedly made headlines. Misplaced within the resultant cacophony of political prophecies have been two important takeaways from Rahul’s exposition — one express and the opposite subtly implied.

Addressing a press convention on the Congress occasion headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday (December 31), Rahul made it clear that his occasion’s centrality to any anti-BJP Opposition bloc can’t be wished away as a result of a “central ideological framework and construction” to tackle the present regime can “solely be supplied by the Congress”.

Prescription for a pan-India Opposition conglomerate

Although Rahul’s feedback got here in response to questions over Samajwadi Occasion chief Akhilesh Yadav, RLD president Jayant Chaudhary and BSP supremo Mayawati not becoming a member of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the implication was a lot wider. “That is not a tactical political battle whereby one group can come collectively to defeat the BJP… what we want is an ideological framework and whereas I respect the Opposition and its leaders I’ve to say {that a} Samajwadi Occasion can not give a nationwide ideology… the SP has a positioning in UP, however its concepts can not work in Kerala, Karnataka or Bihar… solely the Congress may give a central ideological framework and it is usually our function to make sure that different Opposition events really feel snug with this; there needs to be mutual respect”.


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Rahul’s prescription for a pan-India Opposition conglomerate towards the BJP isn’t with out context. The Congress’s incapability to defeat the BJP in bipolar electoral contests has allowed different Opposition events — notably Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Occasion (AAP), Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Okay. Chandrasekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi — to ambitiously vie for the pole place inside the anti-BJP bloc. Moreover, Kejriwal and Banerjee have repeatedly and vociferously rejected the Congress’s centrality inside the Opposition.

These particular person bids by AAP, TMC and BRS have largely remained useless on arrival as a result of numerous causes. Essential Opposition satraps corresponding to NCP’s Sharad Pawar, DMK’s MK Stalin, RJD’s Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav, JD-U’s Nitish Kumar, JMM’s Hemant Soren, Shiv Sena-UBT faction’s Uddhav Thackeray, Nationwide Convention’s Farooq and Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti have variously mentioned that any bid for a united Opposition sans the Congress can be futile however none — apart from Stalin — have endorsed the Grand Outdated Occasion because the fulcrum of such a federal political formation towards the BJP-led NDA coalition.

Rahul’s declare of the Congress being the “solely occasion” that may give an alternate nationwide ideological framework is, thus, a renewed bid to place his occasion on the core of any future anti-BJP alliance of disparate Opposition outfits, irrespective of how unwieldy or fanciful the thought could appear for the time being. The previous Congress president’s assertion in regards to the SP — or every other regional Opposition outfit for that matter — being unqualified to current an ideological counter to the BJP nationally is unlikely to be appreciated by Akhilesh or the chiefs of different Opposition outfits, however it’s a actuality that such regional satraps must abdomen, irrespective of how grudgingly.

Mutual respect and ideological harmony

On his half, Rahul did attempt to soften the blow by stressing that he had “immense respect” and a passion for leaders of all Opposition events, together with Akhilesh and Mayawati. Rahul additionally made it a degree to say that his occasion had an “ideological rishta” (relationship) with Akhilesh and Mayawati as a result of each leaders “need an India of affection, not hatred”. This reconciliatory assertion is, maybe, Rahul’s bid to keep away from the backlash that the Congress drew from Opposition events the final time he claimed that regional outfits had a myopic political imaginative and prescient restricted to the states the place they have been highly effective.

The previous Congress chief’s assertion of the necessity for “mutual respect” between his occasion and different Opposition outfits can also be necessary. Sundry regional outfits have usually been accused the Congress of adopting a Large Brother angle throughout seat-sharing talks regardless of its evident incapability to win the seats allotted to it in any alliance. The Congress, alternatively, has complained that its current and potential allies have eaten into its conventional base and grown at the price of the Grand Outdated Occasion.

Additionally learn: What subsequent after Bharat Jodo Yatra? Cong attracts up future methods

As such, whereas canvassing for the Congress’s centrality to any anti-BJP alliance on the nationwide stage, Rahul has laid out clear grounds for such an engagement; making it incumbent on mutual respect and ideological harmony.

A extra attention-grabbing import, nevertheless, could also be drawn from what Rahul didn’t spell out explicitly. Requested if he was positioning himself as the choice to Modi in 2024, Rahul mentioned he didn’t wish to “fall for most of these questions”. This response has been in keeping with Rahul’s place over time — keep in mind his headline-grabbing “energy is poison” remark again in 2013.

Another imaginative and prescient

But, this response and different statements Rahul made throughout the interplay must be learn along with his stress on the necessity to agency up an ideological counter to the BJP.

“If the Opposition stands successfully with a imaginative and prescient… what I’m listening to from the bottom and what I’m seeing from the bottom, it is going to develop into very tough for the BJP to win. However the Opposition has to coordinate correctly and go to the individuals with a imaginative and prescient, an alternate imaginative and prescient to the BJP… not simply go to the individuals. There’s a big undercurrent towards the BJP, huge undercurrent,” Rahul mentioned. He then added, “my focus is on the concept that India must be united, that we battle hatred and anger with affection… we’re offering an alternate imaginative and prescient for this nation.”

Rahul then went on to elucidate this “different imaginative and prescient” based mostly on his “dialog with the individuals” by way of the course of his cross-country Bharat Jodo Yatra that had begun from Kanyakumari on September 7 and is now set to renew from Delhi, following a nine-day break, on January 3 to cowl the remaining 450-odd kilometres of its itinerary until Srinagar. Rahul spoke at size on the necessity for turning India right into a “manufacturing nation”, the necessity for “giving our kids an creativeness and on altering the “mindset from one in all GDP progress to GDP progress+employment+exports, and so forth.” He spoke about measures for making certain financial equality, emphasised on the necessity for communal concord and putting in mechanisms to make sure institutional autonomy.

Every of those prescriptions, Rahul mentioned, have been based mostly on his conversations with frequent individuals in addition to topic specialists he has met and interacted with throughout the previous 4 months of his BJY walkathon. Briefly, whereas insisting that the Congress was finest suited to present an alternate ideological imaginative and prescient to the nation, Rahul was saying this imaginative and prescient can be based mostly on what he has learnt by way of the course of his yatra.

On condition that, among the many panoply of Opposition leaders, Rahul is the one one to have had the braveness of conviction to embark on a 3,570-km cross-country foot march to “unite India” and have a “dialog with the individuals”. This ‘tapasya’ (penance), as Rahul has usually known as the BJY, has allowed him to interrupt free from the cost of an inconsistent, non-serious and flippant politician that he was ruthlessly accused of not simply by members of the BJP, but in addition of his personal occasion in addition to different Opposition outfits.

Main the oppposition’s cost in 2024

Akhilesh, Jayant, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrasekhar Rao, Kejriwal and another key Opposition chieftains have evaded the BJY. Explaining why they stayed away from an initiative that has caught the general public’s creativeness and stirred some dialog, irrespective of the size, on the grave excesses and lapses of the Modi regime is a burden that these leaders, and never Rahul, must individually bear. Moreover, Rahul’s frequent public conferences throughout the course of the yatra and his interactions with the media have additionally helped buttress his picture as the one chief persistently taking up the mighty Modi and his BJP.

Former MP chief minister Kamal Nath has already claimed that Rahul would lead the Opposition’s cost towards Modi within the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Regardless of whether or not Opposition leaders echo this sentiment, Congress leaders are prone to repeat Nath’s declare with rising ferocity within the days to return. Rahul could dismiss questions on the likelihood of him being pitted as the choice to Modi in 2024 however by asserting the Congress’s centrality to any anti-BJP formation and thru the sheer optics of his yatra, he has thrown his hat within the ring as Modi’s challenger within the 2024 electoral contest.