Rahul era begins in Congress


This is the victory of Rahul Gandhi. He has emerged stronger after reaching out to the people by compelling the Union Cabinet and the Congress’ core group to withdraw the ordinance to shield convicted legislators.
“Whatever Rahul Gandhi says becomes the party line,” said a Congress general secretary and CWC member, suggesting a power shift in the party.
Mr Gandhi had put a question mark on the collective wisdom of the Union Cabinet and his party’s core group by calling the ordinance “complete nonsense” which “should be torn up and thrown away”.
For Congress workers, his open attack on the ordinance is the beginning of the “Rahul era” in the party. But they are unsure about how will it translate into electoral gains.
Now, he will play a decisive role in formulating the party’s strategy and the decision-making process, irrespective of whether he attends the party’s core group meetings or not.
According to some Congress officials, this was not the first incident of Mr Gandhi taking a line different from the government. Earlier, he had opposed an amendment to the Right to Information Act, which seeks to keep political parties out of the ambit of transparency law. It was because of his opposition that the government decided to send the RTI Amendment Bill to the parliamentary standing committee for greater scrutiny.
Mr Gandhi does not want to play a “conscience keeper’s role” within the party and thus influence the government’s policies, but he is playing politics for the larger cause, they feel.
If Congress insiders are be believed, the allies, supporting parties and even the Opposition parties cannot afford to oppose Mr Gandhi’s stand on this issue, because any opposition to it would be seen as backing “corrupt legislators” under the pretext of their elective merit.
Mr Gandhi wants to cleanse the system, irrespective of whether or not it helps the Congress in winning elections. “He is fighting a larger battle. That is why his language, his approach and his reactions are different from other leaders in politics,” say insiders.
“He is neither scoring brownie points over political rivals nor playing caste, region and religion cards to win elections,” they pointed out.
His thrust on “clean image” will reflect in the selection of party candidates for the coming Assembly polls.

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