Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’: Rhetorics, Optics, And No Mettle

by Tushar Gupta - Sep 8, 2022 02:47 PM +05:30 IST
Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’: Rhetorics, Optics, And No MettleCongress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’
Snapshot
  • Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is about the family, not the cadre, opposition, or country.

Again, the Grand Old Party of India has embarked on a journey to search for the political holy grail that could turn the tables for Rahul Gandhi.

Starting from down south, the party, led by Rahul, will be walking 3500-odd kilometres, passing through twelve states across five-six months.

The party is in shambles with both seniors, loyalists of Sonia Gandhi, and many juniors, rumoured to be in the Rahul camp, calling it quits.

The recent exit of Ghulam Nabi Azad, who minced no words in describing the autocratic ways of Rahul in running the party, has only added to the woes of the Gandhis.

The electoral successes are a thing of the past. Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Goa should have been easy wins, but nothing worked.

The role of the third-fiddle ended abruptly in Maharashtra, with the party’s say being as inconsequential as their presence in the coalition. In Gujarat, a defeat looks imminent.

However, the only constant within the party is the devotion to the Gandhi family.

Immune to the repeated defeats in national and state elections, the top brass has enjoyed unconditional support of the cadre, perhaps too weak to question them, as evident by the charade put up during the protests against the National Herald investigations.

The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is another masterclass in rhetoric, a political lesson the party has mastered.

Thus, verbose declarations about economic inequality, taxation, inflation, intolerance, capitalism, public welfare, loan write-offs, farmers’ protests, and democratic institutions can be expected. All words, no mettle.

Even with all the shrill and shriek, the party can no longer shake off the nepotism tag.

As with the Chintan Shivir, the Congress keeps going back to Rahul, even when the staunchest of the party supporters have accepted that he cannot defeat Narendra Modi-the politician on the electoral battleground. The party introspection doesn’t go beyond three individuals.

The second question that the party cannot find a solution to is the opposition coalition for 2024. Even with the BJP being on the back foot in Bihar, West Bengal, and some pockets of Maharashtra and Karnataka, the Congress is no longer the nucleus.

Can Congress’ Bharat Jodo be a substitute for Opposition Jodo? Yes, but only if regional leaders are willing to cede their space for Rahul. Why would they do that, however?

The next 150-days are an experiment in optics for the party, for them to prove that Rahul is not a shoot and scoot leader.

It must be noted that this is more about ensuring that Rahul stays at the helm of affairs for the party that is devoid of ideas and future agendas and can only milk the family legacy for its future.

Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is more about elevating Rahul Gandhi within the Congress than elevating Congress within the opposition or elevating the competition against the BJP.

It is about the family, not the cadre, opposition, or country.

Also Read: No Surprises Here: Meet The 'Eminent Citizens' And Activists Supporting Congress' 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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