What if Congress had won in UP?
Since the declaration of Uttar Pradesh Assembly election results, all news channels have been going agog about what the Congress party, especially Rahul Gandhi, did wrong. For the sake of change or widening of horizons, what about pondering over what Rahul Gandhi did right? By the stroke of luck, as nothing else could have explained this, what if the Congress had won in UP? What would have the news channels talked about? Even though there are not many right strategies that can been written about, here is an enterprising attempt at achieving exactly that.
Contrary to what politicians may think, voters are very smart. So, when politicians try to do some good for the society a few months before elections, the voters can see through. One thing that Rahul Gandhi did right was to start a little early. His visits to Bhatta Parsaul, eating with Dalits and such similar attempts were obviously aimed at the UP elections. However, he started his campaign earlier than the others.
Rahul Gandhi belongs to the Nehru-Gandhi family, considered to be the first family of India. However, Rahul Gandhi comes across as very down-to-earth. How many of the elite people of our country who wine and dine at five-star hotels, can eat at a poor Dalit’s house in the midst of very inhospitable conditions? Even though this may be a public relations exercise, it is a reality. This mass connect with people may have touched the right chords. Rahul made it a point to connect with the rural base that forms the bulk of voters, the young and restless voters, and the aspiring middle class.
When Rahul entered politics, he came across as very media shy and reserved. However, during the recent election campaign, people got to see a more emboldened, aggressive and media-friendly Rahul. His act of tearing Samajwadi Party’s manifesto may be theatrics but, politics requires such acts. Another striking aspect of his campaign this time was good media management and coverage that over shadowed everybody else.
Rahul like many Congressmen and many so-called next generation politicians comes across as very secular. This is one wish that most young and non-Hindu voters have and Rahul addressed their concerns.
Almost everybody including the opposition parties are talking about Rahul aspiring to be the next prime minister. However, the only persons who are not talking about this are the man himself and his family. Even during the election campaign, he repeatedly tried to project the image that he is not there for the love of power but, for the larger good of people.
Was this all that Rahul Gandhi did right in one of the most crucial elections of his life so far? Sadly, so it seems. Ironically, all the right moves that Rahul made were no great shots. They were not innovative enough for the voters to get excited about. The promises made were not any different from what the other parties promised. They lacked the conviction that the voters were looking for. It is not that people do not want to vote for Rahul. In fact, many people are looking for a reason to vote for him. Unfortunately, Rahul is not able to provide them reason enough to vote for him. This is why the media is writing him off. This is why even this article that wanted to talk about his merits, ended up talking about his pitfalls. Probably, this is why Rahul lost.
(Shobhika Puri is a freelance writer.)