Congress leader Rahul Gandhi(ANI File)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi(ANI File)

After Jaipur, Rahul Gandhi’s nationwide rallies to keep the heat on govt over CAA, NRC, economy

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s next rally after Jaipur is slated to be held at Kalpetta in his Lok Sabha constituency Wayanad in Kerala on January 30.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2020 11:36 AM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will address the youth of Rajasthan on Tuesday as part of his proposed plan to hold similar rallies across the country in a bid to reconnect with the masses and corner the Centre on the nationwide protests over the new citizenship law and economic slowdown.

After Jaipur’s Yuva Aakrosh rally, Gandhi will lead an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally at Kalpetta in his Lok Sabha constituency Wayanad in Kerala on January 30, the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi.

In his rallies, he would highlight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s “failures” on the economic front, rising unemployment and agrarian distress apart from talking about the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), the two issues that have triggered nationwide protests.

The 49-year-old leader’s proposed yatra was cleared at the last meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, on January 11.

Gandhi will also raise the issues confronting farmers, tribals, rural workers, small and medium traders, industrialists and professionals.

With a cross-section of people, including Nobel laureate and economist Abhijit Banerjee and historian Ramachandra Guha, claiming that the country lacked a credible opposition, the Congress is seeking to project Gandhi as its face and alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The assessment within the Congress is that the lack of an alternative had given Modi a clear edge in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. During campaigning, Gandhi was consistently ambiguous about his role post-elections.

There has also been a buzz in the Congress circles that Gandhi would don the mantle of the party chief again soon but there is no clarity when that is going to happen.

Some leaders have suggested that he should return as the Congress president soon given that Sonia Gandhi is not keen on holding to the post. But others want him to first travel across the country and connect with the masses before taking back the reins of the grand old party.

But a majority of Congress leaders are of the view that Gandhi is the only opposition leader who attacks both the Prime Minister and Union home minister Amit Shah on different issues on a regular basis.

The challenge for the Congress is to sustain the protests over CAA and NRC and the opposition party is also keen to keep the narrative focused on the economic slowdown, jobs and other issues confronting the common people.

This is precisely why the Congress leaders wanted Gandhi to embark on a nationwide political yatra.

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