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Congress needs continuity

Congress party has organized a big rally in Ramlila Maidan. There was a crowd gathered in the rally on inflation and now the Congress leaders can rest for a few days rest assured. Remember when the Congress demonstrated against inflation earlier! Congress had demonstrated against inflation during the monsoon session of Parliament on 26 July 2021. Rahul Gandhi had reached Parliament by driving a tractor. One day Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders also went to Parliament by bicycle. But after that performance, for 14 months, Congress leaders campaigned against inflation only on Twitter. In these 14 months, inflation kept rising, but it was increasing more. Wholesale and retail inflation remained out of control. For more than six consecutive months, the retail inflation rate has been above the ceiling fixed by the Reserve Bank. Wholesale inflation has been in doubles since last one year. But during this time the Congress was doing nothing except making statements and campaigning on social media.

People are suffering from inflation, but the BJP has entangled them in the dispute of hijab, halal meat and celebration of Ganeshotsav at Idgah ground and bulldozers and temple disputes. Unfortunately, the Congress and other opposition parties are also embroiled in these issues. In July last year, when the Congress protested on the issue of inflation, it did not maintain continuity. If even after that she continued to campaign against inflation in the whole country, she would have got political advantage. But the opposite happened. People were plagued by inflation, yet BJP won four out of five state elections and Aam Aadmi Party in one. The Congress did its worst ever in a state like Uttar Pradesh. Clearly, there is a lack of consistency in the political campaign of the Congress, for which it has to bear the brunt.

Has the party been able to create a message from the rally organized by the Congress after 14 months of the last protest? It doesn’t seem so. Congress could not make the message of inflation despite a successful rally, so the reason is that the party could not produce scenes showing inflation. In last year’s performance, Rahul and the opposition used very strong symbols. The performance through cycle and tractor was impressive. But no such optics were seen in the rally of Ramlila Maidan. When Congress was holding such a big rally, it should have made visuals affecting the hearts and minds of the people. Remember how when the BJP was in opposition and the price of LPG cylinder was increased by even Rs 10, then the big leaders of the party used to protest with the cylinder. Vegetables were expensive, so big leaders used to perform wearing garlands of vegetables. But no such scene could be created from such a big rally of Congress.

Congress could have done something similar had it taken lessons from Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao as well. Recently, KCR got the posters of Prime Minister Modi printed, printed a gas cylinder worth Rs 1,105 on them and pasted it on the cylinder and got a message made of it. Congress could have done the same in its rally. When the UPA government was out of power, the price of a LPG cylinder was Rs 410, which is more than Rs 11 hundred today. Nothing can be a bigger symbol of inflation than this. The Congress had to focus only on this in the rally. People would bring cylinders, milk bags and sacks of flour. Wearing garlands of vegetables, people take part in the rally. Symbols of inflation of petrol and diesel were made. And above all, Rahul Gandhi in his speech only spoke on inflation. At least 90 per cent of his speech should have focused on inflation. But sadly, he kept on speaking on all the matters about which the BJP wanted him to speak. Rahul’s speaking on divisive policies and policies of spreading hatred increases BJP’s votes. This does not mean that they should not speak on it, but the day of 4th September was a day of attack on inflation.

The most surprising thing that Rahul Gandhi said in his speech was that ‘when there was no option left, the party decided to go to the public’. He said this in the context of the India Jodo Yatra starting from September 7. Whoever wrote this line in his speech, he does not know the status of politics. Going to the public in politics is not the last option, but the first and only option. That too the politics of the opposition parties runs only among the people. How can any opposition party say that it was earlier combating the wrong policies of the government through some other means or other alternative and when there is no alternative then it is going to the people? By saying this line, Rahul Gandhi has accepted that he and his party were not going among the public for the last eight years. The question is, when they were not going among the public, then what were they doing politics?

However, three things are becoming clear. The first is the lack of consistency. Secondly, making optics does not work and thirdly, speech does not create any message. If the Congress continues to surround the government on one issue and creates an impression in the minds of the people, then only any political campaign can get any benefit. Inflation, unemployment and the bad condition of the country’s economy are these three issues, on which people will understand if the Congress continues to focus. Because these things are directly related to people. But the reverse is happening in this too. On the basis of half-incomplete figures, the government and the BJP are able to prove that India’s economy is progressing at an amazing pace. There are two or three examples of this. For example, in the first quarter of the current financial year, the growth rate was 13 and a half percent. BJP made it a big issue. But the reality is that real GDP is still equal to 2020. Due to the low base of minus 24 per cent in the financial year 2020-21, the growth rate in the first quarter has been high in the last two financial years.

Similarly, there was a hue and cry for India to become the fifth largest economy by overtaking Britain. But the reality is that the per capita income in India is two and a half thousand dollars and in Britain 47 thousand dollars i.e. more than 20 times that of India. The conditioning of the people of the country has become such that they celebrate the increase in the collection of GST. Little do they know that the government is increasing the GST revenue by taking money out of their pockets. It would have been better if Congress had told the reality of these figures in its rally. If he had used powerful symbols to show a picture of catastrophic inflation, unemployment and the plight of the economy, it would have helped in influencing the minds of the people. Congress has missed that opportunity. Despite this, if she still persists and raises the issue of inflation even in the India Jodi Yatra, then she can get political advantage.

Shubham Bangwal

Shubham Bangwal is a Senior Journalist at You can follow him on Twitter @sb_0fficial
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