Rahul for Gujarat
Being out of power for around 22 years, the Congress is attempting to touch upon the nerves of the mandate emerging from all sections in Gujarat, under its would-be whip Rahul Gandhi. While with his much-hyped 'Yuva Rojgar, Khedut Adhikar' slogan, Rahul is promising employment to the youth, he is also meeting the businessmen to discuss the negatives of GST and demonetisation. And, since it is the first time since 2002 that the BJP would contest the Gujarat Assembly elections without Narendra Modi, this December, Rahul wants to ride high in this BJP citadel. Exploiting the anti-Modi sentiment seems to be the deadly poll plank, as he makes sure to satirise the BJP's development model in Gujarat, asking his audience about the rate of progress in the state. The Congress has also started to encash the anti-BJP sentiments among the Patidar community. And, Rahul's campaign has started giving sleepless nights to the ruling party. Just before Rahul's campaign, the BJP declared a significant increase in the procurement rate of groundnut. Taking serious note of the shifting attitude of Patidars towards a do-or-die approached Congress; the state government has also said that it would consider withdrawing cases filed against the Patel agitators during the 2015 unrest. But, since Patidar's most accepted leader, Hardik Patel, had vouched to uproot BJP from the state, it would ultimately be beneficial for the Congress. A coalition between reluctant Patidars and the Congress is already in the pipeline. But, Rahul has not yet been successful in injecting an exceptional killer-instinct among the workers – without which, defeating the BJP is a mirage. However, he is mindful of some contradictory factors also. By visiting the temple and talking of Muslim brotherhood, Rahul wants to make it clear that the Congress has no reservations to reclaim religions, though, under a liberal veil. It seems that the Gandhi scion is trying his best to project his party as progressive, at a time when the government is encountering a tough slope to deliver on the economic front while also facing a severe backlash from the civil society and student movements across the country. However, it would be too early to say anything about the prospects of the Congress in the coming Assembly elections. For now, though, no one can deny that Rahul has emerged as a major 'game-changer' in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.