As India gears up for the General Elections this year, India’s youngest political heir Rahul Gandhi will be leading the country’s oldest National Party, the Indian National Congress, this time in the capacity of President. The last few years have seen him metamorphose from a fumbling fledgling into the leader that young India has been hoping to have for decades now. While he endures the wrath of the Right wing and the incumbent government as not being ‘leader’ enough, it takes the rational mind to take off those tinted glasses to see what Rahul Gandhi epitomizes: a visionary, energetic, young India.
The isolationist and systematic targeting of Rahul Gandhi over the years has left the youngka icon undeterred. It is here that I will be honest in confessing that I too believed the constant humdrum of the media that maybe he was not yet ready to be India’s answer to the world. It was only when I happened to stumble on a tweet less than 24 hours ago, with the hashtag, Apni baat Rahul ke saath, I realised that I had committed a reprehensible error. I found this young dynamic trailblazer in his signature pristine white kurta sitting with a few small and medium enterprise owners, solving their issues instantaneously as they shared their concerns. Needless to say, the speedy execution of promises and that too for a political leader, had me stumped!
Instead of focusing on the policies that could have bode well with many but not effectively enough, the paradigm shift in the Congress strategy has worked well– they have re-emerged in all senses of the term ‘connected’ to the people directly vis-à-vis Social Media apart from regular tête-à-têtes. And while the quest to get the requisite numbers, is every party’s ultimate objective, Rahul Gandhi now stands ready to battle against the ruling Narendra Modi. If there was anything like dynastic privileges, the BJP has done a fine job reminding us it isn’t, but today Rahul is slowly becoming a people’s name, and ready to surge forward with or without the title of Gandhi.
Rahul has slowly steered people to believe that there is a morally upright and sensitive human in the garb of an influencer within him. The leader who was once popular as a political recluse, preferring Party responsibility to direct governance has slowly and steadily won the support of both the young and the old within the rank and file of the Congress, transforming him into the young scion of Indian values and principles, who can walk the talk.
The hysteria of the media and their portrayal of the Gandhi scion has been graphical over time but never complete. This demure yet robust leader has by all standards defied conventional Indian Polity positing him as a leader who like Lady Diana specialises in winning hearts, and that is his USP. By comparing the various generations within the clan India has indeed committed an error of judgment. It has been exceptionally difficult for Rahul Gandhi especially because he to needs to keep up with the tenor of the Indian polity while nurturing a long term vision for the people of this sovereign nation.
From being termed as just another chip off the old block, to establishing that he has the ability to lead from the front and shepherd his followers to make the right decision, Rahul has maintained his family tradition of defying convention for the sake of the greater good; something the Nehru-Gandhi clan embellishes.
The Indian mise-en-scène is rapidly changing and history bears witness to the fact that while different members of the Gandhi family met with different circumstances, each one pursued a different path, made their fair share of blunders, and ultimately emerged as leaders, the world still looks up to. In the case of Rahul Gandhi, he adopted the ‘bottom-up’ theory dealing with the grass- root levels of the Indian diaspora, something most politicians should be emulating.
To quote the man himself, “If the country is to be changed, it cannot be changed from the top, it can be changed from the ground level. Policies can be from the top, ideas can come from the top, thoughts can come from the top, but their implementation has to be at the level of municipalities, panchayats and wards.” Much to the chagrin of many who once denounced him, this ideology has created significant impact at a time when the need of the hour is to connect with the proletariat for stability.
The trust deficit when it comes to certain sections of society, unfortunately has less to do with Rahul Gandhi’s methods of functioning and more to with unreasonable expectations from various quarters that expect him to function in a stereotypical fashion in a typecast political rut.
In 2004, in an interview to George Iype, Rahul Gandhi’s mission statement was, ‘I will create a new brand of Indian politics.’ 15 years down, he has. The resurrection of a nearly defunct youth wing through the method of open membership which encourages the youth to join the Indian Youth Congress along-with subsidiaries like the All India Professionals Congress that is encouraging young professionals to devote some time in the welfare of the country, his brand of politics is proving revolutionary for young India.
Increasing the cadre-base to empower the youth enabling them to enter the political sphere is currently the USP of a party that met with a resounding defeat 5 years ago. They have proved their mettle and with the needed grit and determination the Indian National Congress is laser focused on its goal to take on the reins in India.
We need people oriented politicians not media- friendly politicians. Rahul is no political accident; he has grown in the lap of Indian politics and is now establishing himself as the change India has been waiting for!
If there be any more doubt on his methodology one can ruffle through the pages of history to former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi’s words,
“India is an old country, but a young nation; and like the young everywhere we are impatient. I am young, and I too have a dream. I dream of an India strong, independent and self-reliant and in the front rank of the nations of the world in the service of mankind.”
His son seems to be on the right track for now!
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. NewsD neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)