Rahul Gandhi’s redemption in Indian politics

The results of the elections are humbling for Modi and BJP

Tariq Abbas Qureshi June 10, 2024
The writer is a civil servant


The sub-continent is known for its dynastic politics. The legacy of the Nehru Dynasty is a very interesting case in point. Without going into any historic context, let’s just focus on the prodigy of the Nehru Dynasty, Rahul Gandhi, who in the latest elections in India, was taunted by Modi and his bhagts as Pappu, a derogatory term used for pampered, dumb and naive boy, an allusion to his disconnect from the masses and his elite background.

Naive as he may have been, the same Rahul who was way younger and less wiser had pulled an upset victory in the 2009 elections, an intriguing campaign led by Rahul to focus on the rural India. While BJP was sure of winning the elections, the result was a thunderbolt to their aspirations. It is pertinent to mention here that Manmohan Singh is the true architect of the economic achievements of India and he laid the path of progress, the fruits of which BJP later took credit for. Rahul was instrumental in the 2009 victory, he introduced corporate style functioning of the Congress party which antagonised the old guards in the party. His connection with the farmers resulted in win for Congress and, ‘Pappu’ passed his first test with flying colors.

While people thought that either Sonia or Rahul will become the Prime Minister of India, in a strange move Sonia Gandhi preferred Manmohan Singh. Despite the hardwork from Dr Singh the Congress government was tainted with charges of corruption and nepotism. Priyanka Gandhi’s husband being in the middle of the scams, the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement delivered a death jolt to the Congress who lost to Narendra Modi’s BJP in 2014.

There started the fall of Rahul who was mocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his supporters for a decade as an entitled dynast, resulting in 2019’s elections where Congress was decimated and Rahul lost the Ameethi constituency which was considered to be a strong bastion of the Nehru family and Congress.

From that lowest point, Rahul reincarnated himself into a formidable political foe to the juggernaut Modi who was all set to win a landslide in 2024 elections with the slogan Ab Ki Baar Char Soe Paar (this time we cross 400 seats). The journey started with Baharat Jodo Yatra to join the communities together which were fragmented by the divisive polices of BJP. About the six-month-long, 4,500 km Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, Gandhi said the march was aimed at uniting Indians against hatred and fear being spread in society.

The mammoth effort not only revived the flagging party spirits but also placed Rahul at the centre of the Indian politics. Rahul’s campaign strategy in 2024 elections was centred around the slogan, Samidhan Bachaoo (save the constitution). Rahul worked out an interesting alliance with the marginalised communities and political forces which were against the regime of bigotry and hatred perpetuated by Modi’s Hinduvta agenda.

Rahul Verma, a renowned political analyst, says, “I think Rahul Gandhi will get credit, not just for mobilisation, for his marches, but also for continuously clarifying the Congress’s ideological pitch against the BJP.”

In the environment where Hindu nationalism is the most preferred ideology, Rahul came out unequivocally to oppose the politics and policies of hatred. The results of the elections are humbling for Modi and BJP. Though NDA managed to win a simple majority, the revival of Congress and the presence of a strong opposition in Lok Sabha will be watched closely.

Whatever the outcome may be in the days to come, one fact is established and that is the second coming of Rahul Gandhi. He has matured into a seasoned politician. It will also be interesting to observe how he takes along his allies in the parliament. There is however no doubt that the prodigal son of the Nehru Dynasty is back again.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2024.

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