Free Press Journal

RaGa 2.0: Will Rahul Gandhi’s revitalised approach help Congress win Lok Sabha Elections 2019?


After a few months sabbatical, a rejuvenated Rahul Gandhi has transformed himself to such an extent, where he has surprised his critics and his admirers, too. The new-found aggression with which he has been targeting the NDA government at Centre in general, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular, we are seeing a new avatar of the Congress Vice President.

The new Rahul Gandhi has also taken media by storm. They have gone in a tizzy after seeing the new Rahul Gandhi 2.0. His interviews are not naive as they used to be. His energy levels have been increased, he seems to more rigorous and determined than ever. Well, after all, the Vice President of Congress is all set to take on BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Amethi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during the second day of his visit to Amethi in September. PTI Photo (PTI10_5_2017_000117B)

But this sudden change in Rahul Gandhi would not have been possible without an experienced set of advisers and not those who themselves need advice on many matters. But his new moves look more realistic and his line of actions reflects that he is willing to make fresh start in order to resurrect his own image as well as that of his party.

But the Congress’s national road map still looks a bit vague. The party leaders are divided, over who should head the party — Sonia Gandhi or Rahul. But rather than that, the party should make more efforts to revive itself in states that it has lost and only then can Congress give a tough fight to the Narendra Modi government.

Well, Rahul Gandhi’s idea of getting fresh young faces to party’s top management posts, hasn’t gone well with senior Congress leaders. But, in his latest speeches, he has gone back on his words and has candidly accepted that he used to push for younger leaders, but in today’s time, all he needed was the “talented old brigade” to run the organisation.

Jamnagar: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meeting with the supporters during his visit to Jamnagar in Gujarat. PTI Photo (PTI9_26_2017_000115B)

His recent speeches in Berkeley and Times Square lay bare his revival plan for the party and also indicate his changed approach. For the first time, he did not defend his dynast tag, instead he put it as an integral part of Indian politics.

Most significantly in his emerging strategy against PM Narendra Modi for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul has also taken over the social media by a storm, having understood its power. Narendra Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign on social media was a big success, well that’s quite tough to be over taken, but only time will tell if Rahul’s new approach on social media will sail Congress’s ship smoothly or sink it.

It also seems that Rahul has somewhere accepted he can’t match Modi’s oratory skills, and has also understood that attacking PM over initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, in an environment high on nationalism, will backfire. Instead, Rahul has now taken a different approach and started criticising the government where it hurts the most: jobs and economy.

Vice President of India’s Congress Party Rahul Gandhi waves to a crowd at a party event in Ahmedabad on September 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAM PANTHAKY

He keeps on speaking about how demonetisation and GST have impacted the economy, and also in every speech he reminds the youth that how government is failing to create jobs — only 500 jobs a day are created, where India needs 30,000 jobs.

Also avoiding direct battle with Modi, Rahul has now picked another enemy — the RSS. With two defamation cases filed by RSS activists against him, his focus on RSS is understandable. He also keeps on mentioning how RSS grass-root network is helping BJP’s expansion.

But is Rahul really listening to his party’s call? Well, the answer is no! Party wanted him to become Party President, but Rahul Gandhi has been postponing that for a long time. But, according to reports, Rahul will contest elections for party presidency this October. The party even wanted him to restructure the party top management, like removing the non-performing general secretaries, and promote fresh talent, but Rahul Gandhi instead has hinted that he will be creating a team with a blend of old and young leaders. Well, the party also wanted him to give direction, but Rahul Gandhi is busy targeting Narendra Modi and RSS.

Parbhani: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi interacting with farmers during his visit at Parbhani in Maharashtra. PTI Photo(PTI9_8_2017_000073B)

But does Rahul Gandhi have an election strategy for 2019? Well the roadmap is still vague. Although he has roped Congress’ senior leaders and also identified his main enemy. But a handicap still remains: he needs issues to win polls. Well, in his recent speeches, Rahul Gandhi has talked about issues like the downfall of the economy and job loses, but he now needs to answer how will he give jobs and stabilise the economy.

In conclusion, all these recent events make us believe that Rahug Gandhi has partially, if not totally, moved on from his ‘Pappu’ image. But he needs to be careful, because one mistake can lead to hundreds of more ‘Pappu’ jokes.