WHAT do Congress supporters and leaders want for the survival of the party in the State? Rahul Gandhi. They were of the view that there was no better bet for the party than the youthful mascot. A few prominent leaders even demanded from party president Sonia Gandhi that she hand over the party’s UP affairs to Rahul.
Rahul may not have accepted any post or may not have said he will lead the Congress’s election campaign. But by venturing out of Amethi and Rae Bareli and raising the issues concerned with youths and establishing an emotional chord with them, Rahul has definitely taken a step forward that brings him closer to centre-stage of the State politics.
Rahul Gandhi has given sufficient indications that he has matured a lot. He has struck an emotional bond not only with youths but also with others. He said, “Previous generation had made so many compromises and tolerated a lot. This generation is in no mood to make compromises and tolerate any more.”
As he made this point, the crowd greeted him with shouts of Rahul Gandhi zindabad. Rahul also gave a lesson or two in politics to his party men. Rahul could be seen standing up and vacating his seat whenever any senior leader reached the podium. Rahul got up in respect of senior Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai. Rahul folded his hands and greeted senior party leaders as they reached the dais to greet him and his mother.
He was aware of the fact that factionalism was the main reason for all ills that the party is facing today and casteism was responsible for the prevailing state of affairs of society.
So Rahul touched the issue narrating a story that his father, the late Rajiv Gandhi, had told him. “When I came to UP for the first time 20 years ago, my father, the late Rajiv Gandhi, told me a story,” said Rahul adding the story focused on how branches of a tree could not be broken if they were put together.
Rahul Gandhi obviously wanted to tell his party men the old saying of ‘unity is strength’ or ‘united we stand and divided we fall.’
This assumes significance as factionalism is considered to be the main factor behind the party’s ills in UP today.
He also used a different method to convey his point that the Mulayam Singh Yadav government was taking care of only a section of society. “If you sow seeds only in a part, how can you harvest the crop from the entire field?” he asked. He also said that the Mulayam-led government too was focusing only on a section of society.
Rahul said that UP figured nowhere on the chart of progress as the industry was moving out of the State.
“The state’s youths are looking for job options in Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra,” he said. About the disbursement of unemployment allowance by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, Rahul said that the youth did not need the unemployment allowance. What they needed was job, said Rahul.
Although Rahul’s speech set the stage, what passed Sonia’s mind remains a mystery. As the requests to hand over UP leadership to her son continued to flow in, she did not broach the topic of Rahul and UP leadership.