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Why Congress keeps deferring its protests on economy — Rahul’s vanishing act, state polls

Congress leaders say Rahul Gandhi is the obvious choice to lead the rally, but even the party is unsure about when he will be in the country for it.

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New Delhi: The Congress has rescheduled its protest rally against the economic slowdown for the second time to ensure the presence of Rahul Gandhi, who has spent most of his time abroad since quitting the party presidency in May after the Lok Sabha drubbing.

First, a series of Congress programmes were moved from 15-25 October to 15-25 November. Then, its Bharat Bachao Rally was moved up from 1 December to 30 November, only to be pushed back to 14 December.

Sources said most Congress leaders are unsure if Rahul is even in the country — some say he came back to Delhi last week after a three-week hiatus, but then took off again.

According to a leader close to the Gandhi scion, this is the sixth foreign trip he has taken since his resignation from the party presidency six months ago.

“Rahul Gandhi is the obvious choice to lead the rally,” said a Congress functionary. “Sonia Gandhi is not well and Priyanka is focused on UP. In such a scenario, where the party admits it can’t survive without the Gandhis, how can a rally be held without him?”

ThePrint approached Congress’ general secretary in-charge (organisation) K.C. Venugopal for a comment on the rescheduling of the Bharat Bachao Rally, but did not receive a response until the time of publishing this report.

Also read: There is still hope for Congress. But first, Rahul Gandhi must quit politics

No decision without consulting Rahul Gandhi

Even though Sonia took over as interim Congress chief in August, Rahul remains the pivot around which the party revolves.

From the appointment of the new Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief to deciding whether or not Congress should ally with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Rahul and his team have been selectively active in shaping the party’s politics, another senior Congress leader told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity.

“No decision is taken without consulting him. Sonia Gandhi forwards all the files to get his opinion first,” the Congress functionary quoted above said.

A second functionary added: “She (Sonia Gandhi) has always put him first. He may have resigned but he’s running the show on many fronts.”

Officially, though, the party has maintained that the rescheduling of the protest rally is because of political developments. First, it was the Haryana and Maharashtra elections, said another Congress leader, which had caused the rescheduling. After that, the party was still coming to terms with its unexpected performance.

“Then the Ayodhya verdict came along,” this leader said. “And now Parliament is in session, so the Bharat Bachao Rally has been pushed to 14 December.”

In Maharashtra and Haryana, Sonia decided to back veteran Congress leaders, a decision that has paid dividends for the party. The Congress defied its own expectations in the two states and performed considerably better than predicted. Rahul, who did not participate in the decision-making, has not even commented on the party’s performance, though the results were declared nearly a month ago.

When the Shiv Sena sent feelers to the Congress after its relationship with the BJP turned sour, Rahul’s absence, Maharashtra Congress leaders felt, was the reason for the party’s initial reluctance to act.

“He (Rahul Gandhi) is not in India. I think Sonia is waiting for him to return and then take a call on whether the party should ally with the Sena,” a Maharashtra Congress leader said.

The leader said Rahul had conveyed his disapproval of a tie-up with the Shiv Sena to Sonia over the telephone. “He thinks it betrays the party’s secular nature,” the leader said.

Also read: How the SPG Act destroyed the Congress party


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  1. Strange Congress and its “Family’s control of it. “No decision can be taken without consulting Rahul”. At the same time, “Rahul has conveyed his disapproval of tie up with Shiv Sena to Sonia”. But, Sonia gave the approval to the tie up. So WHO is in control? And with such lackadaisical effort to work, how can they ever rise again?

  2. The congress party is their family property..all dramas
    .son resign mother take over ..anyone see the move of appoint.the leader for Congress. Fake Gandhi family

  3. It would be unfair to blame him for 44 in 2014, although he was an influential figure during UPA’s decade in power. However, 52 in 2019 is entirely his doing. Born great, has had greatness thrust upon him for most of his adult life, incapable of achieving greatness.

    • You can’t blame Rahul even for 52 in 2019. It was totally unexpected even by the poll survey agencies and all political pundits. Modi/Amit Shah/BJP also didn’t expect such a stellar performance by the BJP! Experts were talking about the BJP winning 200 seats, what would happen if it won less than 200 seats, or more than 200 seats. Even you were wrong about the election results! AND AS ALWAYS THE VOTERS ALSO DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT THEY HAD DONE! IT ALL HAPPENED! SO WHY BLAME RAHUL? HE DID HIS BEST!

      If you must blame somebody, then blame the stupid voters! Why did they reward Modi/BJP with such a big victory for such a bad economic policies? With the kind of ignorant and immature electorate, democracy is like a square peg in a round hole in India.

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