Identifying Right Objectives
Notwithstanding the denial by Rahul Gandhi, it is clear that the much-touted ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ (Join India March) has been specially designed for electoral mobilisation in favour of the congress party as its popularity has touched its nadir. At the same time, it is an image makeover exercise by the Congress scion, who has often been termed as a part-time politician, rather than a sincere, mature and committed opposition leader. To achieve the twin goals, a determined Rahul Gandhi has so far walked more than 3500 kilometers and is a mere 250 kilometers away from finishing his journey.
Contrary to expectations, Rahul’s yatra has generated considerable enthusiasm and many well-known personalities have joined him in various phases of the march to express their solidarity. These developments have made the Congress leadership hopeful of an electoral turnaround, without realising the simple fact that crowd-pulling and vote-catching abilities are two different things. It is always a big challenge for any politician to transfer popular support to ballot boxes. Very few politicians possess this skill and Rahul Gandhi is yet to establish himself as a vote-catcher. Thus, it is premature to expect that the quality will be bestowed on him after just a march from the south to north of the country. Rahul Gandhi will have to walk many more miles to become a vote-catcher like his grandmother, the late Indira Gandhi.
As a matter of fact, the Congress is putting the cart before the horse by projecting Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial face against Narendra Modi. In reality, such hollow claims will favour the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) more than the opposition as it will keep opposition parties divided. A close scrutiny of the present political situation of the country will tell that in recent times, regional parties have been able to pose a serious challenge to BJP, while the Congress has surrendered meekly on numerous occasions. Quite naturally, these regional parties are in no mood to accept the leadership of the Congress and are readying themselves to play a national role. At least three opposition chief ministers are now nursing the ambition of becoming the prime minister of the country. As they have the requisite administrative experience, along with necessary political credentials. These leaders have strong reservations in handing over the leadership baton to the Congress. If the Congress is truly interested in posing a serious challenge to BJP in the 2024 general elections, it will have to join other opposition parties as it is in no position to defeat BJP single-handedly.
Thus, to challenge the present regime, Rahul Gandhi should ask his party men and women to refrain from making any comment that may prove detrimental to opposition unity. Moreover, he should play a constructive role in bringing all opposition parties to a single platform to prevent division of opposition votes, along with strengthening the party organisation in states where it is involved in a direct contest with BJP. In order to achieve the twin objectives, Rahul Gandhi must facilitate opposition unity. Otherwise, the political dreams of the congress party will remain unfulfilled.