Rahul Gandhi sets ball rolling for 2019 Lok Sabha election, but Congress first needs to end factions, fix alliances


Congress president Rahul Gandhi has unambiguously kicked off his social gathering’s marketing campaign for the Lok Sabha elections with back-to-back conferences in Rajasthan and Karnataka. On Monday, he addressed a good gathering in Bidar district at which he returned to the themes that appear set to change into a part of the signature of the Congress marketing campaign.

The Rafale deal dominated the Congress president’s speech, however the problems with unemployment, farmer suicides, damaged election guarantees and the Muzaffarpur shelter dwelling rapes additionally figured prominently, as they did in Gandhi’s speech at Jaipur final Saturday. However earlier than addressing the substance of what he mentioned, some preliminary observations could be so as.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses throughout a public rally, in Bidar on Monday, 13 August, 2018. PTI

First, the Congress has not been its normally procrastinatory self in that it has begun its marketing campaign early to match the Bharatiya Janata Get together’s (BJP’s) fast-off-the-blocks method. However this alacrity has been erratically evidenced. Whereas it wanted to noticeably begin shifting within the three states wherein elections are due just a few months from now, it has inexplicably shifted its focus to Karnataka and Telangana, the place Gandhi is rounding off his southern foray.

After the assembly in Jaipur, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh would have been apparent locations to focus on. Studies, nonetheless, appear to recommend that the social gathering is as soon as once more being dogged by acquainted issues of faction and disunity in Madhya Pradesh, whereas in Chhattisgarh it has did not get its re-organisation correctly off the bottom.

However, there appears to be a better sense of function and freshness in Congress ranks, a lot of it attributable to management initiatives offered by a seemingly revitalised chief. Gandhi has additionally shed a few of his earlier diffidence. The assault centring on the Rafale challenge has been probably the most aggressive marketing campaign now we have seen the Congress president and his social gathering interact in for a while.

Gandhi has been pointed in his assaults: he has nearly as good as accused defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman of being lower than truthful in her declare that the federal government is being prevented from coming clear on the worth of the Rafale craft by a confidentiality clause, citing a dialog with French president Emmanuel Macron; and, in Bidar, most pointedly, he has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being personally concerned in corruption.

The truth that the federal government and the BJP have appeared lower than forthcoming in clearing the air has given the Congress president’s accusations some heft although it could be approach too untimely to recommend, as some have completed, that Rafale might be the Bofors of those occasions. As but, the Congress has proven the general public no smoking gun, although his trigger has been strengthened by the accusations aired by former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie. How productive this political line will show is unclear, however, from the Congress social gathering’s viewpoint, not less than it offers it an air of purposiveness.

On the identical time, the Congress has stored up its assault on the bread-and-butter points: unemployment, agrarian misery, vigilantism, demonetisation, the federal government’s failure to make any headway on black cash and credit score financial institution accounts with Rs 15 lakh, and Dalit points. Gandhi has claimed in Bidar that within the few months that the Karnataka authorities has been in energy it had far outstripped the Central authorities in offering farm mortgage waivers and rising minimal assist costs.

The issue in all that is that the Congress has not but been in a position to provide to the general public a coherent imaginative and prescient of what it’ll do whether it is voted into workplace. By now it has change into clear that voters should not simply swayed by damaging campaigns alone. They have to be accompanied by different blueprints.

The opposite downside is that the Congress has not but been in a position to convincingly articulate its place on alliances. It has mentioned just lately that the management query will stay open ought to the opposition be capable to put up a united entrance, but it surely must be way more optimistic in taking part in a number one function in welding collectively such a entrance.

Gandhi additionally must get cracking on the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh campaigns. To do that he has to take care of the issue of factionalism. In Madhya Pradesh, particularly, the social gathering has lengthy been tormented by the issue of getting too many leaders and too few foot troopers. The Congress should additionally persuade his colleagues that the social gathering has to sew up alliances in all three states the place elections are due, whether or not or not it perceives it will probably do with out them in a specific one. The bigger challenge of creating coalitions work can’t be premised on a coverage of cherry-picking.

Lastly, the well-attended spectacle put up by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, coming because it did towards the backdrop of some coalitional pressure, could conceivably have despatched out a extra cohesive message had the social gathering expanded its ambit to incorporate its ally, the Janata Dal (Secular). That’s simply the form of creativeness the Congress social gathering wants.



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