A careful study of recent course of action by Congress would suggest that the oldest party in the country is too cautious and careful about formulating strategy for the forthcoming parliamentary poll of the country in 2024. Here is an assessment by Dr. P. C. Singh.
By deciding to have a 'non-Nehru-Gandhi' as the president of the party and to go for a long march - 'Padyatra' – from south to north by Rahul Gandhi for connecting with the people seems to be indication of its long term planning for the revival of the Congress. With Sonia Gandhi joining her son in Mandya in Karnataka, carefully choosing this poll-bound state is clear cut indication of this. South has always rescued the congress and the dynasty, whenever there is crisis - either in the party or threat to the ruling dynasty in the Congress. We have seen how - when Mrs Gandhi lost in Rae Bareilly after emergency but managed to come back to Lok Sabha from Chikmagalur in Karnataka and next poll from Medak, now part of Telangana. Sonia Gandhi has also been declared elected from Bellary where she defeated BJP stalwart Sushma Swaraj. Even The young Rahul Gandhi who was defeated in Amethi got elected from Wayand in Kerala.
It is probably this background that convinced Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to field the 80 years old Dalit leader from Karnataka Mallikarjun Kharge for the top position in the party once her call to bring Rajasthan Chief Minister to this position was not honoured as Ashok Gehlot apprehended that this would mean gifting his political base and clout in the hand of his bête noire Sachin Pilot. One fails to understand why she did not take this decision of choosing Kharge and not anyone else in the beginning itself. Kharge as party president has a number of far reaching advantages over others. Apart from hardcore Sonia Loyalist, he is unlike Tharoor for instance, a man from grass root who spent his life as a political worker of the party.
The seasoned Kharge has occupied various key positions in the government. And there is hardly any controversy associated with his name. If he wins which is certain, he would be the only Dalit Congress President after J. Ram. Though Kharge is dead against perceiving him as a Dalit leader and It is true that he has got a secular image in Polity and hardly anyone outside Karnataka would know about his caste background before he was declared as the Congress presidential candidate. But he will most likely get the advantage of his Dalit background.
These two factors - Kharge as presidential candidate and Rahul Gandhi on the street- are likely to generate a fresh energy and new spirit among the disheartened Congressmen in different parts of the country. In India, there has been tradition of Padyatra. In this process, the leader connects with the people and people identify with the leadership. There is direct connectivity. Be it Shankaracharya, or Gandhi , or Chandra Shekhar, all have adopted this method.
To attend the cremation of Atal ji, Prime Minister Modi preferred to walk on foot and thus, giving a message to the people that he is one among them. It is the turn of Rahul Gandhi and reports from his march are giving positive signal. His picture of addressing people amid heaving rain has turned viral.
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