By Rahil Nora Chopra
The Bharat Jodo Yatra has presented the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a new mass leader, and the main challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024. Rahul’s Yatra emulated a tradition by past political leaders of traversing the rural heartland on foot, including the country’s foremost pre-independence leader, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who led a long march in 1930 to resist the British rule. Rahul’s personal stature has grown remarkably and offers a humane, democratic and inclusive alternative. Rahul Gandhi has reinforced his political accountability through the sheer number of media interactions that he held fourteen during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. He did not refrain from any questions, and often showcased his characteristic humour in the media interactions. Gandhi, however, has categorically denied that his yatra has anything to do with politics or the party. From the onset, he has stuck to its unifying theme and has said that it was meant only to affirm love fraternity and unity in times of hatred and disunity. Rahul’s secular image in the public eye attracted women, youth, the middle classes, Muslims, backward caste peoples and thousands from weaker sections of the society. While socialist, communist, secular Opposition parties like RJD, JMM, NC, PDP, NCP, DMK, IUML, CPI, CPIM, Shiv Sena are backing Rahul Gandhi for 2024, even the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has asserted that he has no objection to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi becoming the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate in 2024.However, Kumar pointed out that it would be better if the decision was taken by all parties together. What is good for Rahul Gandhi, who is the visible face of the Congress, should help the party too. The Congress is in need of awakening revival after successive electoral blows at the Centre and in the states, as seen in desertions, infighting, factionalism and loss of power and stature. But whether Rahul Gandhi’s new image or the avatar can be sustained or become persistent would surely depend on his perseverance and politics.
SANGHAMITRA MAURYA DEFENDS FATHER, BUT SAYS NOT LEAVING BJP
After an FIR was registered against Samajwadi Party MLC and former Uttar Pradesh minister Swami Prasad Maurya for comment on Ramcharitmanas, his daughter and BJP MP Sanghamitra Maurya came out strongly in his support, saying there should be a healthy and meaningful discussion on the points raised by her father about the Hindu religious text. Speculation is rife that Sanghamitra Maurya might switch over to Samajwadi Party before the general elections in 2024, and may fight the election from Badaun. But Sanghamitra Maurya had asserted that her professional and personal lives are apart and she would continue to stay in the BJP.
CONGRESS-LED OPPOSITION WANTS JPC OR SIT ON ADANI DEBACLE
Congress and other opposition parties on Thursday demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Adani Group crisis. Earlier, leaders of the Congress, DMK, TMC, SP, JD(U), Shiv Sena, CPI(M), CPI, NCP, IUML, NC, AAP and the Kerala Congress met in Parliament and decided to raise the issue in both the Houses. Several opposition members, including Kharge, also gave adjournment notices to discuss the Adani issue, but they were rejected by the chair.
OPPOSITION PARTIES UNITE BEHIND STATE-WIDE, NATIONAL CASTE CENSUS
After the Bihar government rolled out a state-wide caste census, the opposition parties following the same lines are demanding caste census in bid to woo voters ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls. In this regard, SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav is now preparing political ground in Uttar Pradesh. He is focusing on the issue of caste census. Akhilesh alleged that the BJP is against Dalits and backward classes, and afraid of conducting a caste census. In Madhya Pradesh, Congress and SP have demanded a caste census from the government in a bid to woo voters from other backward classes (OBC). Meanwhile, YSR Congress has demanded a nationwide caste-based economic census at an all-party meet convened by the Centre. The ruling party in Andhra Pradesh has joined the likes of the JD(U) and the RJD, both of which have demanded a caste census. Parties including the TRS, TMC, and the BJD also supported the demand. (IPA Service)