09 March, 2021

The Angelic Hierarchy

Outlook's opinion poll says nearly 70 per cent want Rahul and Priyanka to enter the fray in the upcoming elections. Will the Congress show its hand? Or keep its trumpcards for another time? And should the gerontocratic BJP brass be worried?

Jitender Gupta
The Angelic Hierarchy
Now it's official. The icons-on-the-make of the Congress, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, will campaign for the party during Lok Sabha 2004. So is the Congress confident that its double trumpcards will reduce the BJP to rubble? And is the saffron squad quaking? Neither is true. A series of dharnas, padayatras, anshans (fasts) and petitions written in blood—not to mention a formal request enshrined in the Pranab Mukherjee Committee report—went into "coaxing" the two into making a political debut. The Congress is positive that they will ignite party workers and electrify its campaign, True, perhaps, but will their charisma translate into votes?

"Inducting them into the campaign certainly will not hurt, but they can't be expected to work a miracle in electoral terms," says political scientist and Congress-watcher D.L. Sheth of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. "For the country as a whole, dynasty is no longer an effective symbol, although it has not wholly outlived its life. The image of the late Indira Gandhi may still carry appeal in remote areas and pockets of...

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