Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had suddenly left the country and thrown the Congress in a quandary midway during electioneering for the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections. He is now back in the scene, obviously for damage control. How much Rahul has been able to cement the fractured party organisation and its election machine could be gauged from the fact that local Congress leaders like Sanjay Nirupam and Milind Deora were absent during his rally at the Dharavi slums on Sunday 13th October.
At his Mumbai rally ahead of the October 21 poll in Maharashtra, it appeared that Rahul was flogging a dead horse when he raised the Rafale issue. The well tutored Congress crowd also joined him and raised the 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' slogan, which translated into English would mean “the watchdog is a thief’. It was used extensively by the Congress during Rahul Gandhi's election rallies for the Lok Sabha poll earlier this year.
How can Rahul be oblivious to the fact that the voters have already rejected this slogan and the results are before us. The first lot of Rafale aircraft has also joined the IAF and this has hiked the level of confidence among the people when it comes to national security and defence. Rahul’s current posture shows that he has completely lost “the connect” with the people.
The Congress party is also in the dock as it is facing the charge that it been continuously parroting the same stand that’s been taken by Imran Khan and Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370.
Addressing an election rally at Jalgaon in Maharashtra on Sunday Narendra Modi challenged the Opposition saying that the opposition should state in its election manifesto that they would restore Article 370 if they returned to power. He also said that Kashmir is the crown of India and not “just a piece of land”. Patting his government for the abrogation of Article 370 in the larger interest of the people, the PM has drawn attention to the situation in Kashmir that had been allowed to deteriorate over the last many decades and said that normalcy will be restored in J&K in four months.
Besides, what’s going to prove the waterloo for Congress ally - the Nationalist Congress Party in this election is the case of former Civil Aviation Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel. His name has suddenly shot up in the news as the Enforcement Directorate has started probing an alleged land deal between a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim and a company promoted by Patel and his family. His contradiction notwithstanding, the damage has already been done.
For popular support, BJP is banking heavily on its last word vis-a-vis J&K and Article 370 in the present round of elections. Its election campaign also has been capped with the positives of the Modi government’s welfare policies. With the Congress-NCP campaign in doldrums, the outcome of the Maharastra Assembly election would be on predictable lines.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)
Rahul Gandhi was flogging a dead horse when he raised the Rafale issue.