NEW DELHI: Less than six months after he resigned as Congress president, taking moral responsibility for his party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi and his advisers are working on a plan to relaunch his leadership bid of the Grand Old Party.
To recoup his leadership through an image makeover, Gandhi will embark on tours across states to address rallies on the ‘bread and butter’ grievances of people and in defense of the Indian Constitution, at a time when national politics is delicately placed due to the economic slowdown and the political/social churn over the CAA-NRC-NPR planks of the Narendra Modi regime.
As Gandhi, soon to be 50, is set to launch his tour from Rajasthan this Tuesday by addressing a rally against the growing unemployment under the Modi regime, AICC general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal told ET, “the party rank and file clearly wants Rahul ji to lead the Congress again. Though he is yet to respond, we are waiting for him to take that decision”.
During his tours, Gandhi will address rallies and harp on unemployment, the agrarian crisis and the need to defend the Indian Constitution, sources said.
After another rally in Kerala on January 30, Gandhi will tour Jharkhand followed by the Congress-ruled states and then the BJP-ruled and other-poll bound states.
When asked about the purpose of Gandhi’s upcoming tours, Venugopal said, “The Modi government and BJP are raking up the divisive CAA-NRC-NPR planks to divert people’s focus from the real issues of unemployment, agrarian crisis, inflation etc.
Rahul ji and the Congress will defeat this gameplan by exposing and highlighting the failures of the Modi government”.
Sources said Team Rahul’s bid for his ‘second coming’ coincides with four trends: Opposition parties wresting many states from the BJP; Gandhi showing a renewed interest in Congress’ decision-making process; his mother Sonia Gandhi –– who succeeded him as “interim Congress president” last August –– increasingly making many senior colleagues aware of her reluctance to continue in the post (although most of them would prefer her to carry on till the next Lok Sabha polls) and; when many in the Congress are starting to think that Priyanka Gandhi could be a better future leader and want her area of work extended beyond Uttar Pradesh.
Though Gandhi’s resignation last August had led to an “old versus young” narrative, he left without exercising the outgoing Congress president’s right to propose his successor, thereby leaving some young leaders who had dressed up to succeed him, exposed. Though Gandhi mocked those “who cling on to power”, he was soon discreetly nominated as a Congress Working Committee member without any formal announcement.
During the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi tactically converted the campaigns into a “Modi Vs Rahul” contest to his advantage. With Team Gandhi clearly working to reclaim his leadership role in the GOP, it remains to be seen whether this will help him and the Congress this time or, will further fuel Modi’s determination to hit a hat-trick.
As per the Congress’ constitution, a new party president can be appointed as the culmination of an elaborate process of organisational elections or, through a CWC executive decision.