Not Just A Union Of States: What Does Rahul Gandhi Actually Want?

Not Just A Union Of States: What Does Rahul Gandhi Actually Want?

by Tushar Gupta - Mar 6, 2023 11:16 AM +05:30 IST
Not Just A Union Of States: What Does Rahul Gandhi Actually Want?Rahul Gandhi at Cambridge Judge Business School (Source: @INCIndia)
  • Why would Rahul Gandhi again bank on the idea of taking on Modi with a khichadi coalition? This is where his idea of ‘union of states’ comes into play.

To any average voter, it would appear that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is preparing for national elections to be held in a different universe.

While the endless rhetoric serves as a testament to the intellectual bankruptcy of the party, Bharat Jodo Yatra culminated with a huge defeat for the party in Gujarat, and most recently, in Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura. 

To make matters worse, there are the mindless utterances of the Gandhi scion. For every one lecture delivered abroad, Gandhi is adding ten seats to Narendra Modi’s existing Lok Sabha count. 

Even to the staunchest supporters, the futility of the electoral battle between Gandhi and Modi is visible.

Perhaps, it is something that the Gandhi family also understands, given the scion’s recent lectures where he is seen almost begging for foreign interference. 

Using the imaginary collapse of the institutions as an excuse, Gandhi has been urging western nations to take note. But beyond all this, what is that Rahul Gandhi actually wants?

Clearly, India and its electorate are too huge and evolved to be taken down by western liberals, so what’s the play, really?

A psephologist on Pluto can tell that Congress is in no position to win 272 seats in 2024.

Even 200 sounds outrageous, as a prediction and a pursuit. Congress stands decimated in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Northeast, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and are staring at an imminent defeat in Rajasthan. 

In most states where they have been a part of a coalition, they have either been a drag on their allies or too insignificant to make a difference, as was the case in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.

Thus, many regional parties are now reluctant to be seen partnering with Gandhi, as evident by their absence from the Bharat Jodo Yatra. 

The Congress believes that they are the nucleus to any coalition that may emerge before 2024.

Already, their spokespersons, citing the history and the political legacy of the party, have claimed that their leader is best suited to take the top job, even after losing nine out of the twelve state assembly elections (counting Maharashtra and Bihar) since 2022.  

However, recent murmurs from the political circle suggest that an attempt could well be underway to stitch together a coalition, quite like before 2019.

Most opposition parties have stated that while their singular focus is to defeat the BJP, they are leaving the decision of electing a Prime Ministerial face for May 2024. 

Every new day, a new group of allies surfaces. Earlier this week, nine parties, unable to secure a majority by virtue of electoral mathematics, wrote to the Prime Minister, citing misuse of central agencies after the arrest of Manish Sisodia.

While the grouping was without the Congress, it doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of them being a part of it later on. 

But why would Rahul Gandhi again bank on the idea of taking on Modi with a khichadi coalition? This is where his idea of ‘union of states’ comes into play.

A common theme of all his lectures, interviews, and interactions with foreign journalists and lobbies has been how a politically stable majority government in the Centre is against the idea of federalism. 

When Gandhi says that there is more negotiation and conversation needed between the states and the center, it appears that he is oblivious to the current power sharing agreements in place, not only at a government level, but also at a constitutional level.

Further, by his logic, it would appear that he’s open to the idea of deliberating with separatists, if the situation arises. 

However, Congress’ biggest grievance is against the majority government in the Centre. Electorally speaking, Gandhi would want people to go back to the idea of a forced coalition in the center, plagued by lobbies and party-centric interests, and discard a stable government.

For Gandhi, the ideal case scenario is people voting regional parties over national parties. 

Perhaps that also explains why he attacks the very idea of being an Indian, or claims that all minorities are under attack. For Congress, the aim would be to win 100-odd seats in 2024, and rely on regional partners, whoever can contribute to take the tally to 250-odd, and thus form the government. 

All the theatrics and optics are focussed on one goal alone; to get people to believe in regionalism, and therefore, to vote for the local parties.

In a post-poll alliance, Gandhi would be hoping to lead a coalition where the likes of Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, and even Kejriwal can get 140-odd seats. That is the dream Gandhi is chasing today. 

Put simply, while BJP would want to have at least 300 seats in 2024, all Congress would be banking on is 100-odd seats, and the narrative around regionalism.

All the charade, starting with ‘intolerance’ in 2016 to ‘democracy is dead’ today, seven years later, is aimed at one thing, to force India back into the age of policy paralysis. 

Rahul Gandhi, as a political commodity, is up for its final bet in 2024. If he fails again, for the third consecutive time, it could well be the end of the Congress in its current form.

What Gandhi really wants is a bunch of political minions that can offer enough thrust to get him to 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, even if it comes at the expense of the idea of India.

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.