With eye on Election 2019, Rahul Gandhi appropriates Modi's tagline, says Congress will bring 'acche din'

Keeping up the attack on the Narendra Modi-led Centre government and its decision to demonetise and scrap high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi upped the ante on Wednesday by saying that acche din (good times) will only come when the Congress regains power in 2019 Lok Sabha Election. Speaking at the Jan Vedna Sammelan in New Delhi, Rahul launched a scathing attack on the prime minister for possibly every schemes launched by the BJP government — Skill India, Make in India, etc. In possibly the most spirited attack against the ruling government, the Congress scion not only borrowed Modi's famed tagline — acche din — Rahul alleged that the BJP government is run by a couple of people. Rahul also mocked Modi for his Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India campaign).

"Dhai saal pehle Modi ji aaye kaha Hindustan ko saaf kardunga, sabko jhaadu pakdaya. Fashion tha, teen-chaar din chala, phir bhool gaye (Two and a half years ago, Modiji said he will clean India. He made everyone carry a broom. That fashion stayed for a couple of days and then everything was forgotten.)" Rahul added saying Make in India and Skill India followed suit. The party vice-president's address to Congress cadre can also be seen as an official poll cry for the Big One — 2019 general elections. "Demonetisation ek bahana hai, Modi ji ko pata lag raha hai ki yoga, Skill India, Make in India ke piche nahi chup payenge (Demonetisation is just an excuse, Modiji knows now that he cannot hide behind his schemes for too long)."

The Congress convention in Delhi was crucial as far as body language was concerned. A very confident Rahul (even though he reiterated most of the things that he has already said earlier), took centrestage and shared the dias with former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram and leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. Not only that, the party vice-president raised pertinent questions about press freedom and central government's "interference" in institutions like the judiciary and the Reserve Bank of India.

"Our friends in the media are under constraints. They come to me and say they want to say some thing but they cannot. The respect that we gave the press and the media and the judiciary for the past 70 years, Modi ended that tradition in the last two and a half years." Keeping up the attack, Rahul said that Modi has broken India's financial spine with the demonetisation drive. "Automobiles sector mein 60 percent kam gaadiyan biki hain. Hum 16 saal pehle ki sthiti mein pahunch gaye hain. (Automobile sale has dropped by 60 percent. Today our condition is as it was 16 years ago). Modi must ask why the demand for MNREGA has suddenly surged? Why are people migrating to villages instead of cities?"

Even though a self-assured Rahul was a pleasing and almost a refreshing change, it is important to note two things here: The Congress, which has kept up an unrelenting opposition to the Modi government's demonetisation move, should keep at it with the same tempo. Politics is about perception and perceptions do not change overnight. Congress' report card in 2016 is quite abysmal, and if the party wants anything to change, they should start taking themselves seriously. Rahul's speech at the Congress Convention, for the first time, in many months manifested him as a serious politician. An unperturbed Rahul is a rare sight — even though most of his speech was a repetition of everything that has been said by him on earlier occasions — the delivery and the tone is quite crucial.

Secondly, with the five state Assembly elections round the corner, it is of utmost importance that the Congress does not lose track of its issues ahead of the crucial political event. It is too far-fetched to say that Rahul or Congress will make any remarkable dent in the upcoming election, but if the party stops procrastinating and focuses on its political resurgence, it will not lose as pathetically in the 2019 General Election.

Updated Date: Jan 11, 2017 17:07:32 IST