Rahul Gandhi has become the biggest crowd puller in the country, and the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a beginning of a change in India, says Congress general secretary KC Venugopal. He told TOI that there are no concerns on opposition unity as it will emerge automatically, and that Rahul is keen that it happens. Excerpts from the intervew:
What has the Congress achieved from the Bharat Jodo Yatra?
This yatra went beyond our expectations. When it started on September 7 last year, nobody thought it would be a game changer in national politics. It was felt that the yatra may do well in Kerala and Karnataka, but the response in the North was superb, and that in Kashmir was unimaginable. It has electrified our cadre, our organisational capacity has increased, and the style of functioning of our workers and party has totally changed. Besides Congress workers, sympathisers who were not active, have connected through the yatra. Crucially, “independents” who don’t believe in Congress but want a strong opposition party who will resist the present political culture, connected with us. All this may not have changed the course of the country, but the atmosphere suggests a beginning of change.
Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s stress has been on communalism and bigotry. Can it backfire, since it is believed such focus polarizes people in favour of BJP?
Our slogan is clear: nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukan (in the market of hatred, a shop of love). People don’t have that kind of hatred on the issue of religion, but BJP provokes polarisation with the support of media and agencies like CBI, ED and police. We sent a message to people that they should not be afraid and should not fall for fear mongering. Our position on divisive politics against the BJP has been embraced by the public.
Rahul Gandhi has been the focus of the Yatra. How does the Congress view the yatra from his point of view?
As a campaigner, Rahul used to travel everywhere for Congress and he will continue doing it. But through this yatra, Rahul has become the biggest crowd puller in the country and the people of India have completely demolished the narrative about him created by the BJP-RSS. During the march, everyday, 200 odd people would walk with him and discuss their concerns. He would hear them out, be it farmers or youngsters or women or disabled or ex-servicemen. They were not Congress people and they realised who is Rahul Gandhi — an intelligent, brave and dynamic person, with the capacity to listen to people. Automatically, Rahul has become the biggest campaigner for Congress.
The yatra finale in Srinagar failed to see the kind of opposition gathering that was planned?
We invited other political parties to join the yatra and most of them participated. It was a courtesy we extended to them that they join the culmination function, we did not make it an opposition conclave. Their absence is not a big issue. Now in parliament, all the opposition parties are standing together. Rahul is telling everyone that the atmosphere of the country is demanding a sincere opposition unity to fight the Modi government. He says that Congress cannot fight it alone because we are not confronting just the BJP government, but the combined might of agencies and media. We are doing politics in abnormal times. Congress will do the maximum for opposition unity, and it will emerge automatically when the time comes.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *