Rahul Gandhi, man of the match

Who won the opposition elections? Rahul Gandhi of course. Quite simply because he was the first leader to break the fog of fear created by the central government through intimidation, lynchings, arrests and threats. It had begun to feel like democracy was paralyzed as institutions collapsed, the opposition disintegrated, the media crawled and people cowered wondering what had happened to India that they knew.

There was little resistance to this sense of powerlessness, except from a few journalists, isolated lawyers, and a few activists who challenged the power of the state. Northern regional leaders have succumbed to the BJP’s intimidation and pressure like bowling pins, with some like Nitish Kumar of Bihar switching sides without shame, and others like Akhilesh Yadav preferring to remain silent. It was in the midst of this environment of fear that Rahul Gandhi walked thousands of miles proclaiming love over hate, peace over conflict and, most importantly for Indian politics, courage over fear.

In doing so, he opened a closed door. And slowly the opposition started coming out of its shell, there was some movement, and by the time the Lok Sabha general elections were held, an opposition alternative, INDIA, was in place after some major setbacks. The electoral battle began when Rahul Gandhi launched a campaign large and powerful enough to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP despite the power of the state. Ministers of regional governments have been arrested, chief ministers have been jailed, other political leaders have been threatened, but the counter-campaign against the BJP has not waned. With the result that apart from leaders like Stalin in the South, Tejaswi Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, Udhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar joined Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi across India’s northern belt to bring out voters in a strong assertion in in favor of economic rights and justice. .

In addition to the incredible courage of Rahul Gandhi, demonstrated for years and recognized for almost two years, two other major contributions on his part made the difference in the 2024 polls. Even if INDIA did not form the government , it reduced the BJP’s membership to a minority; and given that the country has the strong opposition that a democracy needs.

Rahul Gandhi influenced two important decisions. First, he brought together the national opposition alliance. He ensured that Congress left its ego at home and reached out to regional players by granting them a more than equal voice at the negotiating table. Negotiations on seat adjustment took place in private and, as sources said, Congress negotiators were very accommodating and clearly armed with instructions that regional parties should retain influence. Instead of demanding the usual and unrealistic number of seats, the Congress party has played second fiddle in crucial states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where regional dominance is an established fact. The turnaround in Maharashtra and UP has changed the scoreboard numbers in favor of the opposition. While Sharad Pawar and Udhav Thackeray were given the lead in Maharashtra, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi embarked on a strong campaign in UP where they not only defeated the BJP in some of its strongholds but also helped Akhilesh Yadav to break barriers with an extremely strong attitude. impressive record. Joint press conferences, rallies and public meetings established the presence of a viable opposition to the impoverished, persecuted and neglected masses of UP and, as Rahul Gandhi later said, they were so successful thanks to the poor of India, not to the middle class and the middle class. rich people who preferred to hedge their bets as always.

Rahul Gandhi was able to realize the absence of a party apparatus in the states mentioned above and did not try to flex muscles that did not exist. Instead, he relied on the apparatus of regional political parties to mop up votes on Election Day, votes he had helped garner through judicious politics and good campaigning. In states where the Congress is in direct fight with the BJP – like Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and even Haryana, which it could have swept due to the backlash from the farmers’ agitation – it has not achieved such good results due to the lack of a good state. leadership and organization. But we’ll talk about that later.

Second, and equally important, Rahul Gandhi was able to offer an alternative narrative. And for the first time, make sure that neither the Congress nor the allies played the game by the BJP’s rules. The party manifesto and overall INDIA campaign did not even bother to counter PM Modi and the BJP and instead talked about crucial safeguards for vulnerable sections of society, including women and youth ; and promised economic and social equality. A strong campaign brought this message to the ground, and this, combined with Rahul Gandhi’s pro-people persona established through his two yatras, bore fruit. And in UP for example, the masses forgot that Akhilesh Yadav had disappeared from the field for a long time now and stood up to embrace him and the Samajwadi Party with enthusiasm.

Rahul Gandhi’s true personality, which showed no signs of cracks, emerged through his quick yatra and was reinforced by the second one. Manipur, it must be noted, voted to the Congress for both Lok Sabha seats – a major tribute to its message of love not hate and the fact that it chose to launch the second Bharat Jodo Nyay yatra from Manipur . Through these marathon walks, he demonstrated a certain simplicity and honesty that resonated with people as he traveled across India. But his affection for the people was perhaps the great revelation for cynical India, for his hugs and embraces for the poorest of the poor, the ease with which he shared a meal with them, held them in his arms , reassured them, earned him new confidence. He did not waste time with celebrities and intellectuals, he connected directly with the masses, giving time to farmers, students, women and the poorest of the poor.

This is his inherent strength, which he clearly takes from his great-grandfather but also from his grandmother before the crisis, when she was more in contact with the population and galvanized the masses with her slogan “garibi hatao “. Rahul Gandhi has a natural humility that endears him to the poor, an open approach with words of encouragement and love. He reserves the barbs for the city dwellers, in particular the integrated media and of course the leadership of the ruling party.

The new government was therefore sworn in under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and with almost the same cabinet. The difference comes from the addition of Chandrababu Naidu and the elevation of Nitish Kumar who of course joined the NDA before. But the real difference comes from the presence of a strong opposition in the country and in Parliament, leaders who bonded through a trial by fire, and the maturity and constancy of Rahul Gandhi, who knew how to manage tight egos, frayed tempers and the push and shove of opposition politics with a smile.