“We are warriors, and we will go into battle with our heads held high, knowing what we stand for. I will do anything you want me to; I am a loyal soldier.” These were the words of 43-year-old enthusiastic Rahul Gandhi at a mega conference of congress workers, in 2014. Those were the days when the entire congress party had high hopes from the young dynast of leading to the party to victory in the 2014 general elections. However, post the BJP’s win in 2014 and their subsequent landslide victory in the 2019 general elections; the faith of the congress workers in their party face and the enthusiasm of Rahul Gandhi himself has been at a constant decline.
The tag of being a dynast has always been on him since his childhood, however that itself isn’t the sole cause of his downfall. The fact that he was never given any political portfolio and unofficially made the head of the congress party is an essential reason, along with that the incompetency of the man to garner votes is another, despite him campaigning rigorously during the state elections this year, the congress failed to get a single state in its pocket.
Why people don’t take Rahul Gandhi seriously?
In 2004 and 2009, when the UPA government came to power, he declined to take up a ministerial position stating that he was working upon the inner strengthening of the party, especially in the state of UP. That was his first failure in obtaining national recognition and as far as the strengthening factor is concerned, he lost his loyal constituency of Amethi to Smriti Irani in 2019 and the vote share of the congress in UP has come down to 2% in 2022.
Owing to such neglectful behaviour of the congress leader, he has often been considered as a part time politician also because of his unprecedented and unreasoned foreign trips. Rigorous campaigning during election season and being inactive the rest of the time is something which is frequently attributed to him, in many election analyses, and is considered to be the primary reason behind is failure to garner votes. In addition to that the partisan side of the media along with the BJP IT cell has done a lot to tarnish his image and caused him to look like a buffoon, ensuring that he is looked down upon and definitely not considered as an alternative to Prime Minister Modi.
However, one of the major reasons behind the constant lack in his followers, and the lack of manifestation of his speeches and remarks is that he does not have a core audience. His speeches may be based on merits and much more sensible than his contemporary BJP leaders, yet he will fail to have an impact on society because he has no core audience. He doesn’t have a persona which makes him relatable to the general public unlike BJP leaders like Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityananth who have a core audience which is the Hindu middle class, public. It is because of this reason Gandhi, often has to resort to shift in political strategies ranging between Minority appeasement politics and Hindutva Politics, as he was seen wearing a janeu and calling himself a Janeudhaari Brahmin, during the Gujrat Assembly Elections in 2017. That act of his received a lot of ridicule, not just from the BJP but also the core audience of the BJP.
The ruling party of India has constantly used such intermittent shift in his political strategies to their advantage and made by making him a subject for public mockery and ridicule. This notion became even more familiar with the majority this year, when AAP leader Raghav Chadha said it after defeating the congress in the Punjab State Elections this year, emphasizing on the need of a different and a stronger opposition in the country.
Today, on his birthday, the loyal workers of the congress are out there protesting against the Agneepath scheme of the government. He has urged the party workers to not host any kind of celebration but instead stand in solidarity with the unemployed youth and support the young protestors out there.
One thing that cannot be denied about the quintessential leader is that despite facing the wrath of the society and being subjected to mockery he continues to have the perseverance to speak out against the policies of the government. Whether such perseverance of his will result in a favourable outcome for the congress party in the upcoming state elections, or will he continue to remain a part time politician with no fixed political strategy is a question, only time can answer.
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