The Congress leader’s disqualification gives the Opposition yet another chance to unite; the question is will the BJP allow it?
The Rahul Gandhi (in pic) versus Narendra Modi battle has gone the latter’s way in the past decade. Pic/PTI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sees his disqualification from the Lok Sabha as ‘the best gift they could give me’. For his party colleagues, it is the icing on the cake that Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ had baked for the Congress that is preparing to be a company upfront in the battle against the Bharatiya Janata Party. Disqualification has put the Congress and Gandhi much ahead of other political platoons and companies that have been scattered along the battle lines without coordinated effort, because they don’t like to work under one command. Under a ‘valid in this moment’ impression that the recent development could get it public traction ahead of the big polls, the Congress would like to assume command, and pin the General’s badge on Gandhi’s shoulders. But will that be acceptable to the rest of the Opposition parties, especially the ones that see the turn of events as the BJP’s game-plan of making Gandhi a hero for one section and a villain for the other, to put him directly in the firing line. For, the Rahul Gandhi versus Narendra Modi battle has gone the latter’s way in the past decade. The BJP is making yet another attempt, fully charged with tactical ploys, to win the Delhi throne for the third successive time.
It is Gandhi’s turn to return the gift. How will he do it? People in the Opposition have been recalling a template Gandhi’s grandmother, the late Indira Gandhi, had created in the 1980s to dethrone the Janata Party’s khichdi government. But before they pin hopes on that model, they will have to consider the change the country’s social and political fabric has undergone in the four decades, more so in the past 15 years. New powers have emerged to weaken the Congress. It began in the states, thanks to the regional forces, and ultimately, the Congress was hit badly in the Parliament through another national party and yesteryear non-entity, the BJP. The BJP’s current regime isn’t a Janata Party-like piece of cloth that was woven with different kinds of threads.
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Today’s BJP is made of one fibre that looks too strong to be broken, unless there is a concerted and united denting work that might be more time and strength consuming than the Opposition in a hurry has been expecting. Some leaders in the Congress say that Gandhi was aware that his yatra wouldn’t be impacting the election results immediately, but it would at least begin the process of uniting anti-BJP minds. With a new development coming up, the Congress sees the Gandhi graph go higher further as most of the Opposition parties, including those that didn’t approve of Rahul Gandhi’s political acumen, have come out in support in this hour of crisis. Some parties are still cautious about pushing Gandhi up and expected to be in that mode in the future. On the other hand, the BJP can be seen pulling Gandhi down further and devising new ways and means to restrict the Opposition unity to safeguard its regime in time to come. The BJP seems to have taken a calculated risk, because in politics it is always the government that not only chooses an opponent but also allows it to flourish or perish.
Dharmendra Jore is political editor, mid-day. He tweets @dharmendrajore
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