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Kerala receptive to Rahul but he has questions to answer


Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra is in the second half of its 19-day leg in Kerala. Rahul, on his way, is meeting all prominent community leaders and is getting a warm reception wherever he goes. Crowds are teeming to see the Gandhi scion. Some want to hug him, some want to take selfies with him, and some even want to touch his dimples.

Rahul was sweating it out in the sultry weather in Kerala, someone else was hogging the limelight equally or even more. That was Shashi Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, who has declared his intention to contest for the post of Congress president. The national media was keener on Tharoor than the Congress ‘heir apparent’.

With these two high-profile MPs from Kerala hitting the ground, photo opportunities were plentiful. But, what this means to the Congress party’s political fortunes is worth pondering. Kerala, indeed, is one state where the Congress is not a thing of the past. 

Though there is much to be aspired for, the Kerala unit is one of the strongest in the country with an array of young leaders. That Rahul decided to spend 19 days in a state which had elected the maximum number of UPA MPs in the last Lok Sabha election was not by chance.

The Congress knows well that Kerala, which had given refuge to Rahul in 2019, is still its safest bet. Kerala is also one of the few states where the Gandhi surname still evokes certain nostalgia. The state unit hopes to use Rahul’s charisma to the hilt to cover up the party’s organisational lethargy.

What the Congress forgets in the process is a crucial fact—that times have changed and that many young voters have no memory of Rahul’s ancestors. Suppose the party is serious about stopping the BJP juggernaut. In that case, mere photo opportunities or an over-dependence on media will not be good enough if the past election results are anything to go by.

If the Congress party does not make conscious efforts to address its organisational and political lethargy, all the sweat and pain of the Bharat Jodo yatris will be futile. Without decisive leadership and a robust organisation, these photo opportunities and symbolic gestures will remain what they are. (AIR NEWS)

73 Days ago