Rama Krishna Sangem
After vacating his official bunglow in Lutyen’s New Delhi on April 22, Saturday, Congress top leader Rahul Gandhi hit election campaign trail in Karnataka the day next, April 23, Sunday. Now all eyes on whether his new campaign #MeraGharAapkaGhar (MGAG) fetch Congress votes on May 10. How his new found status – of homeless, jobless and jail sentenced – will evoke sympathy is to be seen.
Rahul Gandhi started off his campaign in North Karnataka where Congress is strong by participating in Basaveshwara Jayanthi celebrations, which are important to politically influential Lingayat community. His act of handing over keys of his bunglow to the officials of PWD (Public Works Department) of the Central government cannot be ignored. Presence of his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on the occasion too left a powerful image.
Karnatka assembly elections are a litmus test to the politics of Rahul Gandhi who reinvented himself in recent his Bharat Jodo Yatra across India. He aspired to transform from a reluctant leader to a matured politician who is not afraid of powerful BJP led by PM Narendra Modi. Rahul by sidestepping from the race of Congress presidency and allowing senior Dalit leader Mallikarjuna Kharge showed his political sagacity.
Convergence of multiple factors
There are several factors that play a role in Karnataka elections now. First, this is seen as a semi-final poll battle before next year’s parliamentary elections. Next is whether people accept Rahul as an alternative to Modi. Third and important is whether Congress strategy of keeping JD(S) out of any tie up is a right decision. By going alone, Congress displayed a sense of confidence and businesslike approach in Karnataka.
Both former CM Siddaramaiah and senior leadre DK Shivakumar hold Rahul in high esteem, though they may not view Kharge in the same manner. By not naming anyone, Congress too following BJP model – which too is not focusing anyone as CM candidate. So, the focus is solely on Rahul vs Modi in Karnataka. May 13 is eagerly waited by not just people of Karnataka but also many in the country to know the future course of Indian politics in 2024.