Long way to go
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has returned from a holiday to take another jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Mocking the Prime Minister’s promise of “acche din” (good days), he said that the country would see good days when his party “returns to power in 2019”. Gandhi has been vocal in his criticism of the demonetisation drive, accusing the government of destroying one of the country’s major institutions, the Reserve Bank of India. Although such assertions are true, the problem stems from the person articulating them. At a time when millions were suffering at the hands of demonetisation, the Gandhi scion thought it well to take an ill-timed holiday, raising questions once again whether he has the stomach to wage a long, consistent and tiresome political battle against the Modi-led BJP. Observers contend that his political appearances are all oriented towards catching television cameras. The role he needs to play for his party is one of a public leader with a clear vision. Admittedly, a large section of the press continues to pander to the government’s position, submerging the loud voices of dissent against its ill-advised policy measures, but the challenge for the Congress party is to maintain a consistent and well-articulated line of attack. The Congress must realise after the defeat in 1999, and the party rebuilt itself brick-by-brick. It should do the same now, and begin the process by securing a win in Punjab. Only then will it earn a chance at a comeback in 2019.