Opinion: BJP wants Rahul Gandhi’s stature to keep rising but the advantage lies in his bowing down
In fact, after knowing Rahul Gandhi’s MP, those parties and leaders also came in support of Congress, who used to oppose it vociferously. For example, Bharat Rashtra Party (BRS), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongly criticized BJP. AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal even went so far as to say that the BJP government is more tyrannical than the British rule. All of them have come on the pitch of Rahul Gandhi and are chanting the tune of ‘destroying democracy’. Forgetting the mutual differences of the opposition and moving towards unity, there should be panic in the BJP, but it is not so. Rather, she wants Rahul Gandhi’s face to emerge in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that his lead in the elections remains intact. The anti-incumbency wave against the BJP seems to be taking root in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. In such a situation, BJP’s land can be got back due to the noise of Modi vs Rahul. There is ground truth behind this thinking of BJP. In India Today’s recent Mood of the Nation survey, Narendra Modi’s popularity is 53 per cent while only 14 per cent people want to see Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister.
For the Lok Sabha elections to be held next year, where the ruling party wants to climb the ladder of power riding on the chariot of nationalism, the opposition is in the process of creating an anti-incumbency by quoting democracy. But the problem with the opposition is that it keeps changing sides again and again. On the other hand, BJP is completely clear in its objective. There is no hesitation in saying that it is politically unprofitable to drum up threats to democracy, especially when the ruling party is playing the trumpet of nationalism. Take the example of 1977 and 1989. The Congress defended the Emergency in 1977 by saying that the opposition leaders had put national security at risk. Similarly, in 1989, the Congress, under Rajiv Gandhi, touted the aggressive foreign policy of the new India, and promptly portrayed the opposition as a coterie of opportunists, ill-equipped to deal with the serious challenge posed to national unity in Kashmir and Punjab. Is. At that time the Congress party ran a full page advertisement in the newspapers carrying a picture of a broken doll and wrote, ‘My heart beats for India and I will not let anyone break it into pieces’. It is also worth noting that then the united opposition raised the issue of dictatorship and corruption of the Congress, yet there was no negative impact on the health of the Congress in all the four states of South India in both the elections. Be it 1977 or 1989, the Congress party either managed to retain or improve its position in all the four states.
It makes sense that the narrative of weakening democracy against the strong party sitting in the central government can prove beneficial in elections only when it is coordinated with the local problems. But Rahul Gandhi is not able to do this. What he said in the UK only serves the BJP’s agenda – false concern for democracy versus true nationalism. Due to Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul’s stature also increased because he passed through the states and saw and understood the local problems there and talked about them. Turning the pages of history, the rise of local level political parties in the states of North India was possible only because they raised the slogan of making the people the king in a democracy and won the trust of a large section of Dalits, backward as well as minorities. The Congress, which did well in South India in the 1989 elections, faced difficulties in North India. VP Singh was definitely the national face of the opposition, but issues kept changing in the states on the basis of caste-community, which were well exploited by the local parties.
The enthusiasm of the Congress is high after the Bharat Jodo Yatra. She again started pushing Rahul Gandhi as the only viable alternative to Narendra Modi for the post of Prime Minister. But this strategy may prove to be wrong. Rahul Gandhi failed to raise issues like court verdict in Hathras case, lynching in Bhiwani, legal setback to Shiv Sena and corruption in Karnataka. They have confined themselves to the debate of national pride and national security. However, Rahul Gandhi’s candidature for the post of Prime Minister may be good news for the opposition, but its benefit is possible only if the Congress party helps the regional parties to strengthen their local issues and Rahul Gandhi plays the role of facilitator. Take your Same was done by VP Singh in 1989 for the entire opposition. Will Rahul be able to do this? This is a big question. If he can unite the opposition parties who are keeping distance from each other, then Rahul Gandhi will really break the belief of BJP that his growing stature is not beneficial for the opposition but only for the ruling party.
Click here to read Asim Ali’s full article published in ToI.