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We had the Modi factor in 2014, this time there seems to be the birth of the Rahul factor

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ThePrint asks:

Do Gujarat poll results show voters are seeking younger, newer leaders?

Given the overall passivity of the Congress party in its candidate selection process, the campaign in Gujarat demonstrated a different momentum. Rahul Gandhi’s trust in the new leadership of the Patidars, OBCs and Dalits has been successful in creating a generational shift in the electoral competition.

It is no ordinary impact that nearly one-sixth of the legislative seats held by the BJP have been ceded to the Congress without much transformation in the party itself, whether in its agenda, style, or substance.

There is new blood in Gujarat politics, which has the courage to articulate the politics of protest in social terms. Calling it politics of casteism is living in denial. This phenomenon is a coming together of caste, deprivation, and inevitably, mobilisation. The politicisation of caste identity and a demand for a space of alternative politics aims to alter the social chemistry in Gujarat.

This trend will further change the scenario, provided the Congress remains true to its Gujarat manifesto, and Rahul Gandhi remains committed to new-generation politics.

It also shows that Narendra Modi is a phenomenon in personal terms. Any political initiative to challenge him in a regular way around ‘anti Modi-ism’ will not be good enough.

There is a need to include the problem of electoral reform, particularly reverting to the ballot paper system, addressing money power in political campaigns, and issues of rural distress and jobless growth.

These issues, raised by the Congress, gave the youth a sense of inclusion in the political discourse. They had already articulated them earlier, but were confused by the political grammar in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi’s understanding of their language made them evolve from an otherwise routine electoral system.

As we had the Modi factor in 2014, this time there seems to be the birth of the Rahul factor. The regular Congressman can still not meet the demands of alternative politics, something Rahul has shown he is open to embracing.

Anand Kumar is a retired sociology professor from JNU. He is currently a fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Studies and is active in the Swaraj Abhiyan and Swaraj India.

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  1. Soon people will realise that Congress getting 77 seats in Gujarat had very little to do with Rahul Gandhi or his campaign. Remember, six seats were won by Congress with a margin of less than 1,000 votes, as The Print pointed out in an article. But for some disaffection for the BJP, these six could have made the numbers 105/71. Rahul Gandhi has not changed one bit in the core. The RG who went to huts and drank porridge with people (before flying off to a foreign holiday) is the same RG who wears sacred beaded necklace and goes to temples. It is the RG who tore off the Ordinance and insulted his own Prime Minister and his party colleague, is the same RG who sacked his most loyal supporter, Mani Shankar Aiyar, instead of standing by him. By attributing non-existent success to RG, the Congress is doing themselves a great disservice, for the delusion will cost them 2019.

  2. yes Congress fought hard in Gujurat, but it has lost its top leadership in the state also. Even With the help of Jignesh , Alpesh, Hardik, congress unable to narrowed down the Percentage of vote share. BJP grow from 47% in 2012 to 49% in 2017. The figure shows itself how strong BJP is in the state. It will be great if Rahul able to win atleast one state as a president of congress party.

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