AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi launched a full frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Saturday’s Harinagar rally. Rahul was so engrossed in attacking Modi’s “suit boot ki sarkar” that he seemed to have forgotten about Bihar and his allies in the Grand Alliance.
One can understand his reservation against promoting Lalu Prasad after the ordinance papers episode, but Rahul did not even as much as mention Nitish Kumar, who is its chief ministerial candidate and face of the alliance. There was no endorsement of Nitish’s “good governance” and what Nitish had done in the last 10 years. Maybe, he decided to adopt a safe line by carefully avoiding to mention both alliance partners. There was applause from the crowd intermittently when he spoke about unemployment and Modi going back on his promises, but the Bihar theme was missing. He addressed the crowd as if he was seeking votes for the Congress alone.
There is a thin line between making a speech in Parliament and addressing a rally in a state where Congress has been desperately trying to regain its political ground for 25 years now.
Rahul took on Modi on every issue under the sun, from the land acquisition bill to corruption charges against BJP-ruled state governments. The only part of his speech that got a mention of Bihar was when he said that the Grand Alliance wanted to save Bihar and its farmers from the “suited booted people from Delhi and Gujarat”.
However, another politician’s son seemed to have made the most out of the opportunity. Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi, who shared the stage with Rahul, clubbed himself with the Congress heir apparent by saying that they are “yuvaon ke yuva” leaders. Rahul might not have returned the favour to Tejashwi, but it seems that the latter has arrived on the big stage as a leader. JD (U) leader KC Tyagi was the only speaker who tried to pitch Nitish Kumar’s development and pro-Dalit credentials.
Rahul’s show made a good opening, but it could have been better if its leaders like Meira Kumar and Gulam Nabi Aza had dwelt more on the present than past. A Congress worker, who refused to divulge his identity, said the party should tell what it wanted to do than what it did in the past. He said dwelling too much on the past is taking party nowhere and this is where Congress misses the connect.