August 27, 2010

Rahul, famers, tribals: playing a political card well

Rahul Gandhi's sudden visit to Jagannathpur in Kalahandi district of Odisha to meet tribals agitating against allowing mining in their area has raised eyebrows, rightly so. For opposition, it is an alarm bell that Rahul is arriving with a bang.

This is Rahul''s second such visit in a month, a visit in which he has tried to align with those feeling hurt with the state government's actions. He visited the agitating farmers at Tappal, and followed it with taking a farmers' delegation to PM. Now, he has made soothing and politically correct noise at Jagannathpur.

Rahul, and Congress, might be killing many birds with some stones. It seems that they are not happy with Vedanta's Agrawal so his life should be made tough, but that might have been a bonus. Rahul's visits make him a man who feels for them - farmers, tribals, poor - and champions their cause. 'I'm your solier in Delhi,' didn't he echo this at Jagannathpur? It tries to make him a mass hero, one who will strike a right chord with voters when he visits them. It gives him a halo that goes much wider than his being a Gandhi or a Congressman. It also gives him a first-hand feel of the mood of the masses.

No mistake here, Rahul has not visited farmers and tribals out of impulse. It is a well thought-out strategy. It is part of a long-term strategy for Rahul himself and his party. He is striking when the sentiment is against the local government; he is striking where the Congress is weak and unpopular [for that matter, it is weak and unpopular almost everywhere]; he is keeping his interaction charged and short so that it is impactful. The next time, there is firing on agitating students or there is labour unrest, you can hope Rahul will be there for photo-op, pet talk and an emotive 'bite'.

Opposition is also peeved at the trend of Rahul making noises on emotive issues of the masses, then the PM taking action on the issue. This nautanki [ drama], they feel is acted out again and again to project Rahul as a mass leader and the future PM. They might be right, but that is playing one's political cards right. Isn't it?

Chat unchat

“...This is your victory. You saved your own land. Two years ago you had come to me saying the Niyamgiri hill is your god. I told you I would be your sipahi [soldier] in Delhi. I am happy that I have helped you in whatever way I could. What is important is that your voice was heard without violence...” Rahul on 26th August, 2010 at Jagannathpur

1 comment:

  1. Rahul has all the potential to become the nest Prime Minister of India. We must support him. He is honest, young, active, educated, with right attitude.
    The old guys must leave place for Rahul and his team.