By Vijay Darda | 17-12-2018
After winning elections in three states, the Congress president won the hearts of the people with his humility and understanding
With the Congress wresting Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan from the BJP, the political stature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi has certainly gone up. The press conference he addressed after electoral wins in the three states highlights the fact that he has become a mature politician. He said what is in keeping with the Indian culture and civility which politics of hatred has tried to do away with in the last few years. The senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party do not tire of reiterating how they are going to rid India of Congress. Rahul Gandhi said that his party will fight against the divisive ideology but won’t drive anyone out of India. Not only this, he also politely said that the Congress will go ahead with the work done by BJP chief ministers.
This is an amazing statement by Rahul Gandhi and stands out against the current form of politics which reeks of intolerance and aggression. With this kind of approach, he not only won the hearts of the people of three states but the whole country. I know Rahul Gandhi very closely. I have felt the change coming within him. I can claim with certainty that there is no malice in him. How can a person who has forgiven the killers of his own father hate somebody else? He understands that the common man of this country does not tolerate politics of hatred. When Indira Gandhi had lost the election in 1977, the Janata Party government had treated her with disdain. The public did not tolerate it, and in less than three years, she was again elected to power and became the Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, some people are promoting politics of hatred. They should understand that politics is far ahead of hatred. Hatred can not sustain politics. Politics can not be sustained on the basis of religion. Moreover, hatred can not bring about development or make the country strong. This nation has progressed on the foundation of secularism and national integration. The whole world is witness to the situation of Pakistan and Bangladesh which are being run on the basis of religion.
Rahul Gandhi has taken a step further on the path of the politics of cooperation. Secularism is in his blood. Yes, the circumstances were such that it took him some time to mature. Mistakes often occur in politics. He also said that he learned a lot from the mistakes of 2014. Modiji has taught a lot. Actually Rahulji is now a completely changed man. Now he is readily available. He knows whom to keep close and whom to keep away. He has given Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath the responsibility of running Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh respectively; the reason for this is the biggest goal of 2019 elections. After victory in three major states, he has brought Congress to the place where no regional party can now question its standing. As far as 2019 elections are concerned, other political parties have to understand the fact that just as the NDA can not be imagined without BJP, the UPA too can not be imagined without Congress. The regional parties too have understood the reality and futility of the politics of going solo. On his part, Rahul Gandhi respects the regional parties and understands the importance of joining forces with them.
It is good that Rahul Gandhi has taken over the command and seeks advice from Sonia Gandhi as and when needed. Normally, Sonia Gandhi does not interfere nor is there any interference from Priyanka Gandhi. Rahulji’s grip on the party has tightened over the years and he has controlled factionalism within the party organisation. Although it will take some time to completely control factionalism, Rahulji has given the message that the party is supreme. Leaders must operate within the party framework. Rahulji will have to pay attention to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra especially because these states will play a game changer in 2019 elections.
The best part is that Rahul Gandhi has given preference to the party workers and infused a new life in the party. After scoring decisive victory in three states, he also sought the opinion of the party workers through the ‘Shakti’ app as to whom they want to see as the chief minister. This is a unique experiment indeed at a time when the culture of high command has been dominating the political parties. The workers are feeling honoured, excited and rejuvenated. It was also very important for the Congress’ health. But I would warn it against complacency. There is no need to be very euphoric with this victory since the BJP led by Narendra Modi will not remain a mute spectator. The Congress must understand that these wins alone will not suffice. The fight is too tough and long. In order to achieve the goal of 2019, the party rank and file will have to perspire and persevere under Rahulji’s leadership.
Rahul Gandhi has shattered the illusion that the BJP under Narendra Modi’s leadership, can not be defeated. If Narendra Modi is given the credit of every victory, this defeat too should go to his account. Likewise, just as Rahul Gandhi would be blamed for every defeat, the credit for this victory too should go to him.