Kejriwal helped Rahul Gandhi in a big way, can he make it count?

Rahul Gandhi
Did the splendid victory of the Aap Aadmi Party (AAP) on December 8 bring back Rahul Gandhi where he was supposed to be? The Congress vice-president, who vowed to perfect the art made popular by the AAP in the recent Delhi polls after the devastating verdict came out last Sunday, has been found speaking on issues like Article 377 and Lokpal Bill. He is found interacting with people more than what he used to do. A welcome change indeed. At this juncture, Rahul Gandhi couldn't afford to be Manmohan Singh II.

Now, will Rahul suceed in perfecting the AAP's brand of people's politics and script a turnaround for his party, which will complete 128 years in a couple of weeks time? His two biggest opponents at the moment, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, are two 'outsider' politicians who have stormed the system and have announced an impactful presence. Gandhi, on the other hand, is also an outsider of sort, but that was more because of his reluctant approach. People claimed he had been working for the party's organisation but there was little reason for his supporters inside and outside the Congress to cheer about for most state election results during the tenure of UPA II went against them.

One wouldn't be surprised if Rahul Gandhi opens a Twitter account now

Rahul Gandhi looked a liability more than an asset for the party. Even the opposition started giving free advice to the Congress to change its leading Gandhi.

It was in such hopelessness that Rahul Gandhi found a solution in Kejriwal's brand of politics. He understood that it's ultimately the people who matter in politics and taking an active stand on issues that affect the people, directly or indirectly, is very crucial for a leader. It is though a paradox that Gandhi, who was heard speaking a lot in favour of the poor during the campaigning ahead of the recent state elections, had to take the lesson from Kejriwal that people matter in politics.

One explanation for this paradox could be that Gandhi and his party have understood the importance of the middle-class in politics, a sction which has been hijacked by Modi and Kejriwal because the Congress didn't bother much to spare it a thought most of the time.

Now, will Rahul Gandhi be able to convince the middle-class like the Modis and Kejriwals? Immediately, he can't. The image of the Congress has suffered very badly and is almost irreparable at the moment. The rise of Modi and Kejriwal have been felicitated by the Congress's failure to convince the ambitious middle-class of a changing India. For example, Congress leaders who are active on Twitter (not many of them), a popular medium to connect to the middle-class, are seen bashing Narendra Modi most of the time and not express constructive viewpoints about their party.

Just compare that with Modi and Kejriwal or even other leaders of the BJP and the AAP, who use the medium more with an intent to connect to the common man over their viewpoints on various important issues. The party stuck to its traditional stand of catering to the poor through populist schemes and not engaging with the forward-looking Indians. Post-December 8, Rahul Gandhi might have understood the difference this has made in the party's electoral fortunes and one wouldn't be surprised if he is also found joining the Twitter now to speak to the common people.

Rahul Gandhi, as a slow learner, is nevertheless learning his lessons a tough way. The only area where he has to improve now is in lending a brave leadership to the party, irrespective of poll results. At 43, Rahul Gandhi has still got the larger part of his political career to be covered and if he religiously learns in a fast-paced world of politics and also execute the knowledge at the same time, he might be the face with which the changing India would identify itself with the most in 2024. After all, not many had thought in 2004 that Narendra Modi would be a frontrunner for the prime minister's post one day.

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