RaGa Cracks The Whip
By EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE
Published: 23rd Mar 2014 08:07:07 AM
Contrary to what is being made out, 2014 election is not going to be a one-sided game. The summer battle of the ballot is turning out to be a riveting one with the opponents trying every trick in the book to remain in the race. Pooh-poohed by BJP as ‘a political immature’ and hemmed by sitting MPs refusing to contest or switching sides, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi seems to be fighting back with vengeance, drawing out the veteran big-guns against the top honchos in the rival camp.
Angry about the despondency in the party even before the battle has began, “caused by mostly senior leaders painting a dismal picture in private conversations and opinion polls predicting a bleak future”, Rahul cracked the whip. It will be a fight to finish, says an insider, for which Rahul’s “doing whatever it takes, including getting the Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) to force leaders to fall in line” so as to keep the party in the reckoning. In short, he has refused to accept that the party could be down and out.
“That Congress is a sinking ship is a hype BJP is creating, it’s their game plan we should not fall for it. If they’re so sure of winning, why do they need to engineer defection and not field their own people? Why are their senior leaders shifting constituencies in UP”—is what Rahul told a group of Congress youth wing leaders and workers he met recently. After the meeting, he took off his jacket and presented it to one of them—“may be to perk up the mood’’. He told them, “I’m getting some positive vibes here, unlike among seniors.”
It is Rahul’s idea that the Rajya Sabha lobby in the party be made to fill the space vacated by the reluctant Lok Sabha members—ensuring the “battle remains high-profile’’ and high decibel. He’s himself been in an attacking mood.
Overruling Ghulam Nabi Azad’s view that he “may contribute 50 seats” if he “campaigns instead of contesting one seat”, Rahul plainly told him to file papers from Udhampur, Jammu-Kashmir, as desired by the state party workers.
“Despite the fact Nabi takes care of election work earlier done by Pranab-babu,” said a CEC member.
Rahul was adamant that senior leaders confined to strategising campaigns from war-rooms in Luytens Delhi “with little frequency with workers should come out” and take-on the big-guns in the rival camp.
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