If anything, the optics at Congress party’s Jan Vedna Sammelan hinted at Rahul Gandhi’s coming of age. In the absence of her mother and party’s longest running president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul took the attack at the ruling party, chiefly castigating the move to demonetise the higher denomination currency notes.
“Did you see who stood in the lines of banks and ATMs? The honest people stood in line, while the corrupt sat at home or entered the banks through back door,” he alleged firming up his jibe at the move, which he has oft labelled as “anti-poor” and “anti-people”.
Addressing the workers and leaders of his near-moribund party, Rahul Gandhi took to the dais twice.
Marking his return from the ‘break’, that was criticised like his many ‘breaks’ previously as ill-timed keeping in mind the upcoming polls, he charged the BJP-led government at the Centre of weakening institutes across the country. Setting the tone further, he said, “Achche Din will come when the Congress party comes back to the power in 2019”.
The gathering included former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, senior leaders Ahmed Patel, AK Antony, P Chidambaram and Congress leaders in both the houses of Parliament – Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, among others.
The meet also saw his party workers often bursting into the sloganeering demanding his formal coronation, something which is yet to be announced or declared but is been speculated, rather strongly, for some time now.
With elections in the upcoming assembly polls posing a question of relevance, if not just future, for the Congress party, Gandhi sounded prepared, at least in poll-rhetoric.
“I see the symbol of Congress party as the one saying ‘Fear Not’,” he said as he termed the ruling camp as the one instilling “fear in the minds of people”.
“We told the farmers not to fear anybody… nobody can take your land away. Never have fear… But look what Narendra Modi government have done?” he said in his closing speech of the event.
“Farmers are today afraid that their land will be taken from them… Whichever state BJP is in power, they are creating fear. But we are the opposite. We in fact, protect the people and encourage them to be fearless,” he said adding, “We are not afraid of the BJP or RSS, we are opposed to their ideology”.
For most of his valedictory speech, Rahul Gandhi concentrated attack on Prime Minister Modi on the issues of demonetisation, economic performance of the government, surgical strikes and even the promises made by the latter.
“Modiji says he will alone run this country, as if everyone else is a fool. We are a wise country and we sent the British back, we won’t be fooled by you,” was his choice of words before he once again deconstructed the decision of note ban as an “adverse” move.
“Modi ji did a surgical strike on the poor, the farmer, the middle class… Demonetisation has been done to help Modiji’s friends who owe nearly 8 lakh crore loans to the banks… You will see,” charged Rahul Gandhi alleging further that the government “helped out” fugitive-businessman Vijay Mallya.
Talking once again about the upcoming polls and the others later, the Congress vice president emphatically attacked the BJP, claiming his party will “not only stop them, but will defeat them”.
A tall order, which may be seen more from the prism of Rahul Gandhi’s sustenance at infusing life into his party.