Congressmen and women can start rejoicing; they don't have to be in vedna (agony) over their fate anymore. They need not worry about the continuing downslide of the party, and need not take any corrective measures to set things right; no need to brainstorm to boost the ebbed morale of party workers, and no need to strengthen the party's organisational structure in the wake of repeated defeats in Parliamentary, Assembly and even municipal polls across the length and breadth of the country. Their leader Rahul Gandhi has declared the verdict of the 2019 Parliamentary elections — defeat of Narendra Modi-led BJP and the return of Congress to power.
However, what could still worry Congress supporters and die-hard Nehru-Gandhi family loyalists is that he stopped short of declaring himself as the Prime Minister of India in 2019. In his words, "Ache din will come when Congress comes to power in 2019."
That should make lakhs of dedicated Congress workers and followers across the nation much happier, their leader is catapulting to power at the Centre on a borrowed slogan from Modi's 2014 catch phrase "ache din anne wale hain".
It should be noted that Congress has also borrowed its pre-poll Uttar Pradesh catchphrase "27 saal UP behaal" from BJP's 2005 Bihar Assembly election catchphrase "15 saal bura haal" against the Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi regime. The Congress' slogan will soon become meaningless and the party may have a hard time explaining its slogan and the withdrawal of Sheila Dikshit as chief ministerial candidate if it aligns, as is expected, with the Akhilesh Yadav faction of Samajwadi Party.
The problem for Congress and vice-president is that he conveniently forgot what had happened to his party since the later part of 2013 and has been continuing even now in terms of electoral verdicts and popular support. The party high command is banking on the belief that public memory is short.
Incidentally, Gandhi spoke of ache din to his party men and women at a convention his party had named 'Jan Vedna Sammelan' (public agony convention). His idea of voicing the supposed 'jan vedna' was to repeat his charges against Modi on demonetisation, except of course, predicting that in about two years from now, Congress would once again rule the country.
Gandhi looked fresh and rejuvenated upon his return from a fortnight-long holiday at an undisclosed foreign location, apparently in the Western part of the world. On Day 2 of him landing on Indian soil, Gandhi's strategists thought it was an opportune time for their leader to identify with the people's vedna and be the voice of public agony and suffering, as also straightaway take off from where he had left, when he blasted Prime Minister Modi before revitalising himself with a yearending New Year party.
Once abroad, Gandhi discovered that internationally Modi was an object of ridicule. "For the first time in history, the Prime Minister of India was ridiculed across the world. This has never happened before. Modiji is the first Prime Minister of India who is being ridiculed across the world," he said. It's something that seems to have encouraged Gandhi that his time was about to come.
A recharged Rahul Gandhi revealed that some mediapersons "worried in their hearts" and approached him complaining about their plight and the alleged constraints they face if they try to write or speak against Modi and his government. They tell Rahul Gandhi in confidence that they "want to say certain things" but "hawa badal gaye hai, bola nahi jata" (atmosphere has changed, can't speak now).
Gandhi did not reveal the names of these friends of his in the media who visited him with their grievances against Modi. He didn't reveal what kind of journalists these persons were, who chose to tell him about the Modi regime, but refrained to say it through the tool they had — in print, broadcast and digital.
The other thing Gandhi discovered during his tour abroad is that Modi could do yoga, but had no idea of the padmasana. The Congress vice-president's yoga teacher had told him that someone who does yoga frequently could also do the padmasana. He mocked Modi for his inability to do so.
According to Rahul Gandhi, Congress cannot be questioned for what they did or didn't do in last 70 years, for Modi has undone everything Congress stood for. Corruption obviously was not a subject the Congress de-facto boss could have talked about. "We don't need to explain what we did or didn't do over the last 70 years. But in two-and-a-half years, BJP undid what we achieved in 70 years. They weakened every single institution — Election Commission of India, Reserve Bank, judiciary — that we constructed," he said.
Yet again, Rahul conveniently forgot his grandmother Indira Gandhi and the Emergency, even his mother Sonia Gandhi exercising absolute power without responsibility from 2004-14 as chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) while Manmohan Singh played her proxy as prime minister, in office not in power.
The gathered Congress leaders in the front rows, however, seemed very happy, prompting Gandhi as he spoke. What gave them happiness was how Modi was being ridiculed and their leader's prediction that come 2019, they would again be rulers of the country.