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Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi energised Congress, #BharatJodoYatra played pivotal role

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat  
Karnataka's electoral victory of the Indian National Congress is a big boost for the entire country and a prelude to what is in the store in the next general elections if the opposition leaders focus on governance. Congress party fought like a team, unitedly and aggressively and credit must be given to where and when it is due. Whatever people, experts can say, it is Rahul Gandhi who energised the Congress party and his #BharatJodoYatra played pivotal role in shaping people's opinion. We know it well that the media and experts will come out with 'Mood of the Nation' survey, suggesting how this was a 'state' poll and how Narendra Modi is still far 'superior' and 'popular' than any other leader and this 'Brand Modi' remain 'undented'. 
Media already started blaming JP Nadda for the debacle of his party in Karnataka untouching Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The criticism will be loaded against the local leaders and not the vicious hate campaign that the Prime Minister launched. While in defeat they are looking for scapegoats, in victory, the darbaris are suggesting that the 'issues' were 'local' and it was the local leaders who won. Definitely, it was a collective leadership who worked deeply connected and the contribution of D K Shiva Kumar in it important. The campaign by Congress President Mallikarjun Khadge was powerful and message went to all but dont ignore the powerful campaign and road show by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. A TV anchor suggested that it was Priyanka Gandhi who was more 'connected' to the masses than Rahul. There was another who was virtually crying when a tweet of Congress Party came speaking about Rahul Gandhi. 
Congress's social media cell will promote its brand and there is nothing wrong. The problem is with these Darbari anchors who feel why Congress leaders are giving credit to Rahul Gandhi. Now, we need to tell these unofficial and shameless spokespersons of BJP that every leader who contest and wish to contest know it well as who is the 'brand' and under whose leadership this campaign was and who are the people listening too. It is important for the Congress party to have the Karnataka model everywhere. Congress had, once upon a time, powerful regional kshatraps who managed their state and it is time Congress develop that. Karnataka model must be developed Chhattishgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana. Congress need to bring various powerful leaders with mass connect and focus on the governance model. People are now looking towards Congress Party.
Whether one agree or not but the fact is Rahul Gandhi has shaped Congress party as a strong opinion based party. A party which was more focused on 'Bjili-sadak-pani' but also ready to take a strong stand on #CasteCensus, Communalism and hatred. This is a new Congress. The slogan given by Rahul Gandhi, Jitni abadi, utna haq is a powerful statement. The call for banning of Bajrang Dal was a powerful statement which needed. Even if you dont ban, you can always say in your manifesto to take stringent action against the hate mongering groups and organisations. There is nothing wrong in saying it because if the party dwindle on these things, it will never be able to win the confidence of the minorities and marginalised communities.
The Manustream Darbaris were suggesting that Congress has done 'self goal' when they sought banning of Bajrang Dal. BJP was quick to jump on it as if there was no other issue. Look at the campaign of the top leaders of BJP. Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, J P Nadda, Yogi Adityanath, Himanta Sharma and Smriti Irani. All of them were competing against each other in foul languages and rhetoric. Can you imagine Chief Ministers and Central Ministers using this kind of language in any civilised discourse but we saw that in Karnataka but the responsne about these by Priyanka Gandhi was absolutely classic when she said that if she start counting how you abused her family particularly her mother and brother then you will find a thick book of BJP and RSS leaders foul language against Gandhis. The language and the personal jibes at the Gandhis was only responded by Rahul Gandhi through his 'Muhobbat kee Dukan'. He deserve full credit and support.
Congress need to keep this momentum. It has given us hope now that 2024 election is now open. The Darbaris and cronies will do everything to stop one person whose name is Rahul Gandhi. They dont hate Congress. They will start peddling other narrative that Khadge is more powerful or Shiv Kumar or Siddharammaiya is the real leader or Priyanka connect more than others but the fact is this Congress of today has a strong stamp of Rahul Gandhi and his ideological positions which need to be lauded and appreciated.
Thank you people of Karnataka for this big victory and Congress Party has to deliver the promises it has made to the people. Dont hesitate in taking action against hate mongers. Karnataka deserve better and hope Congress's leadership will focus on pro people plans and be careful of the attempt to create a discord between the two top leaders Siddharammaiya and D K Shiva Kumar. The challenge for the party is now big but let the leadership election happen democratically and all of them accept it. The flame of hope that has been ignited by the resounding victory of Congress Party need to continue in the greater interest of democracy and secularism in India and for that the party need to remain united and focused on issues. Remember, hatred can give you a few brownie points when the anchors have forgotten their jobs but ultimately the people never tolerate it. People know that your hate agenda is nothing but to promote the crony capitalism. Rahul Gandhi has understood it well and he has been consistent in his criticism. Other political leaders in the opposition parties can take a few lessons from this elections which has proved it beyond doubt that Rahul Gandhi will remain the ideological brand of the Congress party and workers get ignited with his presence and people listen to him seriously.
---
*Human rights defender

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