Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The Ram temple issue figured in the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday with both leaders taking potshots at each other. In his rally at Rewari, Haryana, Prime Minister Modi said, Congress leaders who used to describe Lord Ram as ‘imaginary’ are now chanting ‘Jai Siya Ram’, while in Chandauli, UP, Rahul Gandhi alleged that only billionaries and celebrities were invited to the Ram Temple consecration event in Ayodhya, and the poor people were kept out. Modi said, Congress is now in such a sorry state that not only alliance partners, but even their own leaders are deserting the party. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, during a video conferencing with Maharashtra party leaders, remarked on Friday that he was wondering why senior leaders whom the party had given so much, are now deserting the party. He was referring to former CM Ashok Chavan, who left Congress, joined BJP and got the ticket for Rajya Sabha. Replying to Kharge, Ashok Chavan said, it was the people who elected him and not the party leadership. Chavan said, most of the grassroot level workers have deserted the Congress, and in several districts of Maharashtra, they are unable to find even ticket seekers for the elections. Chavan claimed that he conveyed this to the Congress leadership but his views were not heard. What Ashok Chavan said is almost similar to what Narendra Modi said in his Rewari rally. Modi said, “Congress is caught in a one-family trap, and is only busy launching its non-starter startup (Rahul Gandhi).” The ground reality is: after Rahul Gandhi took over the reins of the party, old leaders having mass base have left the Congress. These include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Capt Amarinder Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiran Reddy, Jitin Prasada, Vijay Bahuguna, Ashok Chavan, Milind Deora, Rao Inderjit Singh, Rao Birender Singh, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Pema Khandu…the list is too long. The Congress described these leaders as spent cartridges and betrayers. The fact is, most of these leaders have described Rahul Gandhi’s whimsical style of working as the main reason for quitting the party. Congress should introspect whether Modi is responsible for the desertions by senior leaders. Ashok Chavan is right when he says that the party leadership has no time for introspection and it is solely focused on Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’. It is because of this Yatra, that the party leadership is delaying seat-sharing talks with other partners, and its own party men are quitting. The anti-Modi front, for all practical purposes, is now over. Only in Bihar, the RJD is with the Congress. On Friday, Tejashwi Yadav joined Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra. RJD supremo Lalu Yadav is ailing. There was a time when thousands of people used to gather in Bihar to watch Lalu speak. Lalu knew how to feel the pulse of the people, but his health is deserting him. Watching Lalu speak in a soft voice makes one said. Lalu is no more active in politics, and this is Tejashwi Yadav’s biggest challenge. Congress may somewhat gain from RJD in Bihar, but there is little chance of the RJD gaining from this alliance.

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