Is Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party's sure shot candidate for the post of PM, an asset or a liaibilty for the party? After Bihar he has now led the party to a disastrous performance in UP assembly elections. Twice in a row he has failed to lead the party to even a semblence of reasonable performance at the hustings.
He started fairly early and led attacks on the Mayawati Govt. with a view to galvanise his party into delivering a good performance in the elections. Since these were announced, he travelled hectically and addressed more than 200 meetings and held a numberof road shows in the state. As electioneering progressed he became more shrill and aggressive. In one,now famous, dramatic moment he tore what was supposed to be the election manifesto of theSamajwadi party, while addressing a political rally. His sister also came out in her charming best to support him. His party played the 4.5% reservation card for the minorities,read Muslims,ploy to woo the muslim votes.He constantly attacked Mayawati and her corruption ridden govt almost forgetting that there was the other equally strong regional party ,the Samajwadi Party.
In the end, the Congress could increase its tally from 22 in 2007 to 28 in 2012. So much for so little. Why did the UP voter reject Rahul and his Congress party? Some thoughts come to mind readily.
Rahul was seen as someone who comes only during elections and woulldagaim come after 5 years. The corruption scandals in the UPA govt at the Centre also dented his attacks on Mayawati's corruption.The absence of a viable grassroot structure and committed cadre in UP meant no follow up with voters.The Muslims did not fall for the reservation bait and in fact saw through it. The upper caste and significant sections of dalits and other backward castes also
Is all lost for Rahul. Not at all.He belongs to the first family of India's politics and will keep getting chances till he tastes success and that will be reason enough to annoint him as the next PM if Congress is still in power. However his coming forward and owning up the responsibility for dismal performance in UP is a sign of maturity. I feel the UP voter has noticed the hard work put in by him in UP elections and will reward him in the next Lok Sabha elections as they did in the 2009 elections after voting BSP to a majorityin 2007 assembly elections. It seems the voter is now differentiating between state and centre elections and treating them differently. It is also good that Rahul is learning the hard way as it wiil anneal him into a good and understanding future leader .He should also be more communicative.
But for now it is the other sonrise of the SP who is the flavour of the week.