To win the 2024 elections, Rahul Gandhi needs to review his strategy, select the right people to work with and build strong leaders in each state
Is Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's judgement coming under scrutiny? The critics wonder whether he promoted aides who ultimately betrayed him and the Congress. The recent departure of former minister Milind Deora has shrunk his inner circle, leaving only a few close aides who remain loyal. It's worth noting that the BJP has welcomed many aides who have left Congress and even encouraged some to defect from the Party. I Why have Rahul Gandhi's friends joined other political parties recently? The simple answer was that they were disenchanted with the Congress and its leaders.
It is important to remember that wise advisers are crucial for the success of any leader. Rajiv and Rahul had similar political and personal experiences, and both started their political careers on a high note. However, Rajiv's political education came from learning on the job. Four years after entering politics, Rajiv became the Prime Minister due to unforeseen circumstances. While he was out of power, Rajiv learned his political lessons well. Rahul is still learning. In 1989, Rajiv Gandhi was targeted by his political opponents through negative campaigning, leading to his political downfall. Several notable members, including Arun Nehru, Arun Singh, V.P. Singh, and Amitabh Bachchan, left Rajiv's team during this period. Rajiv's trusted friends were from the Doon School, collectively known as the Dosco team. Rahul's team of image makers put much effort into presenting him as a capable leader.
He is credited with creative solutions to address issues related to religion, caste, and economy and to bring India together towards progress. However, the BJP attempted to present him as an inept and entitled leader who lacked vision and could not lead the country towards prosperity. They often called him "pappu" to reinforce this negative perception. Frustrated with the continuous electoral losses, most of Rahul’s inner circle sought greener pastures. They belonged to influential political dynasties and were ambitious. They were in a hurry to take over from the old guard. After enjoying power, most of his handpicked team left. For instance, Jyotiraditya Scindia, a close friend of Rahul Gandhi, was disappointed when the Congress leadership did not appoint him as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after the 2018 Assembly polls. As a result, he played a significant role in toppling the Madhya Pradesh government, eventually leading to the establishing of the BJP government two years ago. Scindia was offered a ministerial position in the Centre for his support.
Recently, Jitin Prasada has joined the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh. At the same time, Kapil Sibal, Alpesh Thakur, and R.P.N Singh have all moved to different parties. Moreover, Ghulam Nabi Azad has ended his relationship with Congress due to his dissatisfaction with Rahul Gandhi's leadership. Captain Amarinder Singh left the Congress Party in Punjab and established a new political party. Sunil Jakhar, another prominent Congress leader, has also left. Twenty-three leaders challenged the Congress Party's leadership after the 2019 general elections when the Party lost. There is a growing dissatisfaction over the departure of some of Rahul's close aides. Rahul had previously promoted them as ministers in the Manmohan Singh government. He later gave them higher positions within the Party. Some even held positions in the Congress Working Committee, which usually requires years of dedication. Congress lost power in the 2014 and 2019 elections, and they may only be able to secure at most 100 seats in the upcoming 2024 election. Fearing for their future, They cannot afford to spend another five years without being in power. Rahul's inner circle started exploring other options.
They were not disappointed as they got tempting offers from the BJP. Though Rajiv and Rahul shared similar political and personal experiences and started well in politics, Rajiv learned on the job. Tragic circumstances made Rajiv Prime Minister four years after entering politics. Rajiv learned his political lessons well while he was out of power. His misguided advisors and political inexperience marred Rajiv's good intentions. The Sri Lanka Peace Accord failed, and the decision to send the IPKF was catastrophic. He was assassinated in Tamil Nadu as a result. In the past 20 years, Rahul's growth could be more impressive. He has been handed powerful positions without seeking them. With Congress President Mallikharj Kharge being a mere figurehead and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, taking a back seat, Rahul has complete control over appointing crucial personnel to important positions within the Congress.
To win the 2024 elections, Rahul Gandhi needs to review his strategy, select the right people to work with and build strong leaders in each state. His ongoing Bharat Nyay Yatra is an effective way to connect with voters, just like his previous Bharat Jodi Yatra did. The most important thing is to get the voters to the polling booth. Rahul must learn from past experiences, make necessary changes promptly, earn the trust of Congress workers and coalition partners, and, above all, find a new narrative.
(The writer is a popular columnist; views are personal)