Rahul Gandhi has experienced many highs and lows in his political career, but he has also shown a remarkable change in recent years and emerged as a strong rival to Narendra Modi’s political dominance
RECENTLY Rahul Gandhi shared this post in Hindi on X during the first anniversary of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, stating, “The crores of steps of Bharat Jodo Yatra towards unity and love have become the foundation of a better tomorrow for the country. The journey continues – till hatred is eradicated, till India unites. This is my promise!”
- Rahul Gandhi’s long-bearded appearance during the yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir has portrayed him as a compassionate philosopher on the national political stage
- Rahul Gandhi constantly attacked, not only the RSS and the BJP, but also the industrialist Gautam Adani and his alleged proximity to PM Modi
The Bharat Jodo Yatra has made Rahul Gandhi a serious challenger to PM Modi and BJP this year. The Yatra has changed Rahul Gandhi’s image, which was tarnished by the ‘Pappu’ tag that BJP had given him since 2014. The Saffron brigade’s propaganda had damaged his persona, public image, and reputation of commitment and competence over the years, but the Bharat Jodo Yatra has helped him overcome that impression to some extent.
The biggest challenge before him was how to rebrand the 137-year-old party, build the cadre base, and start winning elections after two historic Lok Sabha defeats
His long-bearded appearance during the yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir has portrayed him as a compassionate philosopher on the national political stage. It was a major achievement for the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, as it changed his image from a reluctant and part-time politician to one who is mature and understands the pulse of the country. He covered over 4,000 kilometres and drew the attention of both his supporters and critics. He also established himself as a leader for the poor, the workers, the youth, and the women.
Rahul Gandhi outlined his vision for economic prosperity, emphasising initiatives like the Rs 500 per gas cylinder scheme already implemented in Congress-ruled states such as Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Additionally, his vision includes ensuring affordable fuel, generating employment opportunities for the youth, and improving conditions for farmers.
Throughout the journey, Rahul held 12 public meetings, addressed over 100 street meetings, 275 planned walking interactions and conducted 13 press conferences.
Last year, through The Congress’ organisational elections Rahul Gandhi indicated that the party is democratic.
STRATEGIC POLITICAL MOVES
The powerful Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty’s scion spearheaded the formation of a grand alliance, I.N.D.I.A (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), consisting of 26 parties, to challenge the BJP in the national elections next year. Rahul actively campaigned for his party in the elections in Karnataka, a crucial southern state, in May. The Congress emerged victorious, dealing a rare setback to the BJP in the region.
After a court verdict overturned his disqualification, Rahul Gandhi is back in Parliament as an MP. The 53-year-old leader of the Congress had lost his seat in March and faced two years in prison for criminal defamation, but the Supreme Court restored his lawmaker status. He represents the constituency of Wayanad in Kerala and his comeback in Parliament has strengthened the opposition coalition. His party is also showing signs of recovery in the state assembly elections of Mizoram, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
Rahul constantly attacked not only the RSS and the BJP, but also the industrialist Gautam Adani and his alleged proximity to PM Modi. The biggest challenge before him was how to rebrand the 137-year-old party, build the cadre base, and start winning elections after two historic Lok Sabha defeats. He also announced that he would conduct a caste census across the country if his party wins the next general elections, claiming that it would ensure social justice and empowerment for the oppressed communities.
On the popularity scale, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands among the top five most followed world leaders on social media, boasting 48M followers on Facebook. In contrast, Gandhi has 6.8M followers on Facebook. Rahul Gandhi’s followers count on Instagram & Facebook has increased significantly during Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Rahul Gandhi, a fitness and martial arts enthusiast who also follows a spiritual path, has a multifaceted public image. He faces a critical challenge in the next general elections, where he will lead the Congress party’s revival efforts.