Link rivers to revive Congress
It will not take Rahul Gandhi more than 100 days to lay a solid foundation for the revival of the Congress party if he decides align his political campaigns along key riverine routes. Rahul must plan a nationwide tour to revive the Congress party. My plan for Rahul Gandhi will revolve around four key phases. The first phase of the revival process must begin with a tour from ‘Ganga to Sabarmati’ on the day of Makar Sankranti on 14 January. Makar Sankranti commemorates the beginning of the harvest season. River Ganga is considered sacred. Sabarmati river also has a rich history that is spread over from Aravalli Hills to Arabian Sea. During this 1400 km-long journey, Rahul could cross four states, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajsthan and Gujarat. He can interact with thousands of people en route. Starting with a road journey from Varanasi that reaches Ahmedabad on 30 January, the day Mahatma Gandhi was killed, Rahul be able to rejuvenate thousands of Congress workers.
For the second phase of the revival project, Rahul Gandhi must take up the path between the Narmada and Kaveri. Narmada is the fifth longest river in Indian subcontinent and third longest that flows entirely within our country. It originates from Amarkantak and forms the traditional boundary between North and South India. The Kaveri river has its origin in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Legend tell us that Kaveri was born as daughter of Brahma, the creator of the universe. The river has served as a lifeline to the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India for centuries. The journey could begin from the tribal area of Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh and end at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. This 1800 km-long route covers seven states, namely Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The third phase of Rahul’s venture could surround the link between the Chenab to Chambal, from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir to Mhow in Madhya Pradesh. The area would cover Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajsthan. For folks from North India, the Chenab is like the Rhine for Germans. The river originates from Manpur, near Mhow, the birth place of Baba Sahab Bheem Rao Ambedkar and finds a mention in our ancient scriptures. Rahul can measure this 2000 km-long route by crossing the towns of historical importance, namely, Udhampur, Dharmshala, Pathankot, Amritsar, Faridkot, Bathinda, Hanumangarh, Ratangarh, Ajmer, Nasirabad, Bhilwara, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Badnawar, Ujjain and Indore.
The fourth and last phase could be deducted to the Yamuna and Brahmputra link. Yamuna is the largest tributary of Ganga. The Brahmputra is a trans-boundary river and perhaps the only river in our country that has a male name whereas all other major rivers have female names. According to legend, Brahmputra is the son of Lord Brahma. Let Rahul Gandhi cover a distance of around 2100 km from Delhi to Guwahati to launch a final boost for his political army. He will be passing through Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam in this phase if he decides to take a ‘Discovery of India’ tour. The final leg of his endeavour can surely refill the areas like Faridabad, Mathura, Vrandavan, Aligarh, Etah, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Lucknow, Faizabad, Basti, Gorakhpur, Darbhanga, Forbesganj, Basantpur, Khairabari, Jalpaiguri, Gosaigaon and Bongaigaon with a new-found verve.
Under the above plan, Rahul Gandhi would be able to cover 18 states, while travelling around 7500 kilometers. The total journey might take him only 75 days in total. Take it from me, he can infuse new life into the 129-year-old party. Rahul must remember that he is the great grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, who travelled around fifty thousand miles for provincial assembly elections in the winter of 1936-37. This campaign created a strong foundation for the Congress party. Nehru travelled in air crafts, trains, cars, elephants, camels, horses and bullock carts for the above purpose. Elections were held in eleven provinces of British India, namely, Punjab, Sindh, Bengal, North West Frontier Province, Bihar, Orissa, Central Provinces, United Provinces, Madras, Bombay Presidency and Assam, after it was mandated by Government of India Act in 1935. Results were declared in February 1937 and Indian National Congress formed the government in eight provinces. Bengal, Punjab and Sindh did not go with Congress, but Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s All India Muslim League failed to win any of its provinces. Nehru wrote about his campaign trail where he would always keep a loudspeaker with him. A minimum crowd of twenty thousand gathered everywhere to listen to him and there were many occasions when he addressed gatherings of above one lakh people.
The actions of the Congress party must inspire others to dream more and do more. This is not the time to find faults. This is the time to find remedies. Rahul Gandhi has the tremendous hidden potential of a faithful, sincere and trustworthy influence on people. Rahul Gandhi has already spent a long time understanding the politics of India as well as his own party and it is not necessary for him to wait till his hair turn grey. Rahul must show that he is serious to lead the Congress party from the front and sooner the better. After he does take lead, senior and junior colleagues in his party will realise that the Gandhi scion is made of sterner stuff.
The author is editor and CEO of News Views India