Wednesday, August 17th, 2022 20:05:52

Poor Turnouts At Rahul Rallies Give Worry To Congress

Updated: November 2, 2013 10:42 am

The problem facing the Crown Prince is that unlike in the past when he rode colossus-like especially across Uttar Pradesh, unchallenged by any rival, he has now Narendra Modi to contend with. And since 2014 general election is likely to be Rahul vs. Modi, any adverse comparison would have bad effect on his vote-garnering ability. In the recent past, one can recall that cameras of TV channels do not show the crowd at any of Rahul’s rallies, whereas, at Modi’s meetings, cameras sweep all around to show the huge crowds.

So particular care is being taken about crowds at Rahiul’s meetings! According to sources, faced with the prospects of thin attendance owing to the festival ‘Karvachauth’, the Congress cancelled two rallies of Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh on October 22.

It is said that Congress leaders are attributing this to the axing of the rallies at Hamirpur and Salempur, but other sources said the Congress was unhappy with the poor turnout at Gandhi’s recent rallies in Aligarh and Rampur. The crowds at these places were much below Congress expectations. This reportedly enraged Rahul. He reportedly gave a dressing down to UP Congress leaders.

He realises that Uttar Pradesh, with 80 Lok Sabha seats, is crucial for any party which wishes to control Delhi. So the poor attendance at his meetings is a matter of serious worry. This concern would have been compounded by the huge crowd turnout at Modi’s rally in Kanpur. The number of rallies by different parties in UP is: Rahul to address eight rallies in 2013, the BJP nine rallies, Samajwadi Party to hold 18 rallies. A UP senior Congress leader said anonymously that nothing could be done to swell crowds at Rahul’s rallies as people now hate our party and the Family has lost its charisma.

Modi Vs Rahul Or Modi Vs Priyanka

The issuing of a statement and then amending it and finally retracting is nothing strange in the Congress Party which seems to be in a state of utter confusion. And self-doubt! The reason for bedlam is that the Party is now a Gandhis Ltd Company in which everyone, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka are equal shareholders. Robert Vadra continues to enter the company. But so far the trio has kept the Company to themselves. A recent instance shows it all.

The TV channels flashed that Priyanka Gandhi would now campaign in many states unlike limiting herself to Rae Bareli and Amethi. According to the grapevine, a senior Congress leader told this to some media persons and it spread like wildfire. News-breaking reports about Priyanka started almost immediately to be discussed in drawing-rooms and public places.

One TV channel flashed it would be Modi vs. Priyanka, so did it mean that it would no more be Modi vs. Rahul. What an insult to him. The Congress leadership was alarmed when BJP’s Prakash Javadekar said that this was an admission by the Congress Party that Rahul had flopped. This is why Priyanka has been roped in.

Such interpretation of the report about Priyanka must have enraged the Crown Prince. Whatever might have happened within the Family, soon enough Ajay Maken contradicted the report and said Priyanka would campaign only in Rae Bareli and Amethi.

In Italians like in Indians, son is the torch-bearer and not the daughter. So Rahul would continue to wear the Crown. But rumours persist that with Modi campaigning in UP for 10 times coverixng over 40 constituencies, Rahul might ask his sister to come and help. This is called back-door entry.

Manmohan’s Love For Exotic Destinations

An analogy between the story character Heera, who on some pretext or the other used to leave home early morning and return late night to avoid being ridiculed for doing nothing, and our revered Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh (called MMS for convenience) is very much possible.

India at the moment is in a bad shape, inflation is rising, prices of essential items are skyrocketing and women security is a major problem to be resolved. A ‘soft-hearted’ Dr Singh keeps flying out of the country so as to avoid seeing people suffer.

When he goes to an exotic destination like Washington, Moscow, Berlin and Brunei to mention a few nice cities, Dr Singh seems more at ease—he sees all-round development, happy people and seven star luxuries provided by the host country’s government. Why should commentators criticise such outings. At his age he needs peace. And that he gets in plenty when abroad. Why then grudge it.

In any case, even if he is here, his ministers seldom care to consult him before announcing policies or Crown Prince calling decisions of the Cabinet, presided over by Dr Singh, nonsense. So in or out of India makes no difference. Hence, Dr Singh takes refuge abroad. Just study his recent itinerary—he was in the US from September 25 to October 1. Then he went to Brunei and Indonesia from October 9 to 12. And then in Russia on October 20 and in China on October 23 and 24!

While he is on his world tours, he works in the interest of India. So why criticise him. Only just a few months are left for him to be ‘useful’ for India.

Childish Tiff

Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, has been taunting Narendra Modi of being a copycat. He charged Modi with ‘stealing’ his statement that toilets be built before temples. That toilets are more important. Modi made a similar comment on October 2 this year while Ramesh expressed the same view in October 2012, when he held charge of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Then BJP leaders had ridiculed Ramesh. “Modi has woken up 21 years later (a reference to the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition),” Ramesh leered.

But it is claimed that Modi had made the same remark even before Ramesh, in Amreli, Gujarat, in 2010. Addressing a large gathering, in order to emphasise the importance of development, Modi had stated that building of toilets must precede temple construction.

Amit Shah, the then Modi’s MoS, Home, who was present, had not taken kindly to his leader’s remarks since he felt they offended Hindutva sentiment. He had staged a walkout in protest.

Yet the childish quarrel continues between leaders of the two parties.

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