Rahul Gandhi disqualification: Cong leader's issue turns into blessing for party; brings disparate groups together

Rahul Gandhi disqualification: Cong leader's issue turns into blessing for party; brings disparate groups together

Rahul's headache turned into a blessing for the party as not only has it brought Congressmen of all shades together on one platform but it may also prove to be a harbinger of Opposition unity.

FP News ServiceUpdated: Monday, March 27, 2023, 08:36 AM IST
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Rahul Gandhi | File

The sentencing of Rahul Gandhi and his subsequent disqualification is proving to be a blessing in disguise: Not only has it brought Congressmen of all shades together on one platform but it may also prove to be a harbinger of Opposition unity.

Unwittingly, by rushing ahead with the disqualification, the BJP has given the Opposition an issue on the platter that may at least for some time serve as an adhesive and hold the disparate groups together.

After Rahul had wound up his successful Bharat Jodo Yatra, it was felt that perhaps he had peaked too early. This kind of an attempt at mass mobilisation was needed just close to the run-up to the general election. However, the conviction by the Surat court and the disqualification, unless upturned, could spur the party to greater heights and possibly catapult it into a pole position – a space it had grudgingly vacated some time back.

Congress leaders took a dig at central government

The chorus over Rahul’s disqualification manifested itself in protests across the country on Sunday, with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accusing the government of “trying to silence” a “martyr's son.”“We have remained silent but not anymore,” Priyanka said alleging that the prime minister and other BJP leaders had repeatedly insulted her family members but no cases were filed against them.

According to a legal portal, Rahul has more than 10 criminal defamation cases pending against him in various parts of the country but he has not filed any defamation case against anyone. Gandhi's opponents too have made some controversial statements against him and his family and even dubbed him a nondescript 'Pappu.'

The Congress leaders were on Sunday at pain to counter the BJP's charge that Rahul Gandhi had insulted OBCs with his Modi surname remark. Delving into the past, Priyanka asked how a leader whose family has “given its blood to nurture a democracy” and who has walked thousands of kilometres from Kanyakumari to Kashmir with a message of unity could insult the country or a certain community.

Kharge hits out at BJP

Kharge, who led the “Sankalp Satyagraha” protest outside Delhi's Raj Ghat after the police refused permission to hold it at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial, asked why the BJP was feeling hurt if fugitives like Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi were being criticised.

“They talk of OBCs, is Lalit Modi an OBC, is Nirav Modi an OBC, is Mehul Choksi an OBC, they ran away with people's money. If they are fugitives, why are you in distress if they are criticised.’’

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, too, slammed the BJP over its allegation that Rahul Gandhi had insulted OBCs and pointed out that the party had made an OBC leader like him CM thrice.

P Chidambaram speaks about the party's condition after the incident

Giving his prognosis on the recent developments, former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said his party leader’s disqualification would strengthen the Congress, helping its prospects in next year's general election. Shashi Tharoor called the two-year jail sentence as a “silver lining” as it has brought forth an “unprecedented opposition unity”.

“We have seen regional parties, which in each of their states regard the Congress as an opponent, actually come out and stand by our side,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview. “We have seen Kejriwal in Delhi, Mamata Banerjee in Bengal, K Chandrasekhar Rao in Hyderabad. These are not figures that in the past had associated in any way with the Congress,” he said.

It was, he said, the “exhibit number one in the law of unintended consequences of the BJP action”.

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