09 March, 2021

Mr Clean's New Spring?

Rahul's debut is a canny bid to offer an alternate point of focus from the polarising persona of Sonia Gandhi . Updates.

Digitally morphed by Jayachandran
Mr Clean's New Spring?
They make a pretty picture: the cherubic Rahul Gandhi leading his brigade of Ivy League-educated, MNC-trained youngsters into the heat and dust of the desi electoral battle. The babalog are back, in all their kurta-pyjama and sneaker-clad chic. But can they save the party? The Congress is in urgent need of a knight errant to rescue it from electoral embarrassment, fumbling as it is for a cogent agenda and a compelling slogan in contrast to the BJP's jackrabbit start. Poster-boy Rahul, it hopes, will brighten its campaign and give it an added edge.

However, no Congressman is willing to claim Rahul's electoral debut will miraculously turn the party's fortunes around; a tacit acknowledgement that they have come to terms with the grim realities of Lok Sabha 2004. They all know he'll garner a disproportionate share of sound bites and pixels, but does he carry even a residual magnetism associated with the surname to wean away a young electorate from the BJP? Beyond Amethi, partymen are non-committal.

Congress strategist Salman Khursheed quantifies Rahul's immediate impact on...

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