Rahul Gandhi: Congress redemption lies in states

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 30: Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi finally draped in Kashmiri gown as he addressed the finale of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ at Sher-e-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir amid snowfall. He was accompanied by Congress’ trusted allies, who have pinned hopes on him to work on an alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

“Victory in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections has infused confidence that Congress can win state polls. By leading that ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Gandhi has shown that he will be the face of the party even while party chief Mallikarjuna Kharge leads the organization,” said Anand Mishra, a Congress observer. Gandhi had embarked on the Yatra at a time when Congress was mired in faction fighting, and there was a coordinated campaign to pressure the Gandhi family to take a backseat in the organizational matters.

The road ahead for Congress is certainly to work with the state units of the party and win at least three of the nine Assembly elections this year, said Mishra. “Congress has to stage a comeback. Opportunities are around as Congress is seen to be in a strong position in Karnataka against the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state. Madhya Pradesh will be another turf where Congress may do better in the backdrop of growing anti-incumbency against the Shivraj Singh Chauhan-led BJP government in the state. Congress should will also be aiming to retain power in either of Chhattisgarh or Rajasthan,” noted Mishra.

Political observers concur that Rahul Gandhi has carved out a larger role in Congress even while he will not take the post of the party president. Fresh with the energy gained in the Yatra, he is now slated to assert his Parliamentary role, as challenges now lie for him to give leadership to Congress’ trusted allies. “I took out this Yatra not for myself or Congress. We took out this Yatra for the people of India. This was top open the shop of love in the market of hatred,” said Gandhi, as snowflakes covered him at the stadium.

The conclusion of the Yatra saw the likes of DMK, Left, National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Jamata Dal (RJD). Regional satraps are likely to watch out the road ahead of Congress this year, and party’s poll performance in the Assembly elections.

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