Opinions

Rahul Gandhi’s Resignation will Help BJP

The political attitude being displayed by the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi following parliamentary verdict is not much of a surprise. After giving Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a strong fight in several assembly elections ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Rahul apparently expected a better verdict for the Congress, that is more seats. The only saving grace is that Congress-led coalition has improved its performance marginally, winning 52 seats this time in comparison to 44 won in 2014. Considering that Rahul has been handed charge of his party as the president less than two years ago, it is too early for him and others to expect him to spell great wonders for his party, spelling its return to power.

Certain hard realities cannot be de-linked with the Indian political scene. India has the second largest population with a multi-plural culture, divided along regional, religious, tribal, casteist, economic and numerous other lines. It is impossible for a new political entrant to turn all political cards at play in favour of his party. Certainly, Rahul has been in politics as a Member of Parliament from 2004. The Congress-led alliance headed the government from 2004 to 2009 and 2009-2013 with Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. During both the terms, Rahul chose to remain in the background. Clearly, with his mother, Sonia Gandhi heading the Congress and also the party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), maybe the timing was not viewed as appropriate for Rahul to get too actively involved in party politics. At least, this seems to have been the impression.

In fact, Rahul’s active involvement became more noted after he was handed charge of the party’s presidentship in December 2017. His ability to interact with media persons, answer questions and similar moves are definitely better than most others amongst his political rivals. Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored that the communication strategy of his party has fallen way behind that displayed by BJP. Let us accept it, however much noise is being made of BJP’s return to power because of the so-called “Modi-wave,” it has certainly not been accomplished overnight and/or in a few months’ time.

The saffron cadre of this party has been engaged for several years in not just spreading “news” about Modi’s “accomplishments.” It is a hard reality, also rather unethical, but over this period of time, they also appear to have made considerable noise against Rahul’s capability as a leader. He has been projected as a “weak” leader. Besides, lies spread about Rahul, his family background, including the religious identity of his ancestors and so forth need to be corrected. In fact, some attention needs to paid to why have committed Congress workers remained silent regarding the spread of such negative campaign?

The preceding points bear importance because the anti-Rahul campaign has certainly played its part in forcing a considerable percentage of voters to believe that nobody else but Modi can lead the country. Here, it may be noted that BJP did not take the risk of targeting most regional leaders. This apparently suggests that the party deliberately did not attack the latter as it did not to wish to alienate and/or anger them. BJP did not wish to close the option of aligning with them, if electoral results demanded so. However, with Congress being a key rival, there did not and do not exist options of the two parties forming a coalition government at the centre.

History stands witness to Rahul’s grandmother, Indira Gandhi as well as uncle, Sanjay Gandhi having lost their seats in 1975 elections. Though known as the Iron Lady, politics did not always spell success, victory and also popular phase for her. There was a brief period when she faced trial and was also imprisoned. But the Iron Lady did not give up and returned to power for the third term in 1980. Defeat in elections does not and should not spell abandoning of responsibilities at any level. Rahul needs to take note that even his mother, Sonia, did not relinquish her role as the Congress leader simply because other parties refused to accept her as the country’s premier. Some importance should be given to the truth that Rahul’s decision of sticking to his decision to resign would be most heartedly welcomed by his key opponents. That is what his rivals are hoping for, total collapse of Congress.

Of course, Rahul has his right and freedom to decide what he wills. Yet, his decision to back away within less than two years of taking charge as the party’s president cannot be described as a wise decision. He must not forget the strong fight given by the Congress to the BJP in several assembly elections held a little ahead of Lok Sabha polls. It would be more practical of Rahul to go over weak points which led to poor performance of the Congress in comparison to strategies exercised by the BJP to return to power. Rather than call it quits, he should exercise political wisdom and start planning for the coming assembly polls and also next Lok Sabha polls from right now! 

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