Is Rahul Gandhi’s Renaissance Finally Upon Us?


Is Rahul Gandhi’s Renaissance Finally Upon Us?

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré

The moment the Congress has waited for, the moment the BJP has waited for, and the moment every stand-up comedian in the country has been waiting for, is upon us. The young and dynamic Rahul Gandhi, at 47, has been promoted to the post of Congress president. Since the news broke, there has been celebration inside the Rahul camp as well as every BJP office in the country. Predictably, Rahul Gandhi did not face any internal competition for the post or even the slightest bit of opposition, which is probably the only way he can win anything.

This is a fascinating time, because this is probably the only time we get a small insight into the inner machinations of the Congress, one of the largest parties in the largest democracy of the world with the internal functioning of North Korea. “The family” has a long tradition of calling all the shots and crushing aside dissenting voices.

As party chief, Rahul Gandhi will achieve the dual objective of being the face of Congress’ 2019 Lok Sabha campaign and the face of nepotism in Indian politics. Rahul Gandhi might have struggled to win major elections but he could have very well entered the Guinness Books for losing the most number of elections. He was given the responsibility of being Congress’ vice president, and more than 25 election losses later, he is now elevated to the president’s post. This is the corporate way of doing things — employees that aren’t good at their job get “upgraded”. Forget the BJP, Rahul is equally responsible for ensuring a “Congress-mukt Bharat”.

Of course, I am being harsh. Rahul Gandhi should be judged not on his performance, but on his perception, it’s the only thing that matters in politics these days, anyway. At his peak, he was able to do something no politician in India has done — unite people of all religions, class, communities, and economic backgrounds, as they all laughed at Rahul Gandhi jokes, memes, and video mashups flooding the internet. Those Pappu jokes got so out of hand that the Election Commission had to ban political parties from using the word Pappu in their campaign material for the Gujarat elections.

Rahul Gandhi should be judged not on his performance, but on his perception, it’s the only thing that matters in politics these days, anyway.

Maybe Pappu along with Rahul G’s perception, is going to be a relic of the past. Every other news outlet seems to believe that Rahul’s renaissance is upon us. The man seems to have a swagger about him on social media, he has become more vocal and sharper in his criticism of the government, and for some reason, he also declared his Akido black belt.

As he takes over the reigns of the Congress party, the pressure is immense. His is going to be a decisive term as the Congress party head: He could either rejuvenate a flailing party or crash them to the ground. He is basically like Tom from Tom and Jerry, who has devised an elaborate plan and has to just press the red button; there’s slight probability that he could succeed but he might just end up making a fool of himself, like the previous 200 episodes.

This is an updated version of an earlier published story.