Narendra Modi 2018
Source: Al Jazeera

Prime Minister Modi’s tenure has come like a whirlwind in Indian politics. It was like a storm brewing on the horizon, everyone could see it coming and after sweeping the 2014 general elections in a spectacular fashion(the first complete majority in modern history) the Modi juggernaut only caught more momentum. Not only did BJP sweep the Hindi heartland, but captured Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and is now in government in 6 of the 7 sister states in North East India. {Only till two days back, BJP was ruling majority of India with the opposition rendered useless}. It looked like nothing could stand in front of this freight train rumbling forward at full speed and yet, as it is always the case, people had there said in the last election and BJP could not win even 1 of the 5 states, 3 of them, smack dab in the middle of Hindi heartland and erstwhile bastions of BJP.

It seems like when it was counted out the most, Congress rose from the ashes like a phoenix and left Modi and BJP dumbfounded. It provides some respite to the almost completely decimated opposition in India and gave some semblance of hope who do not like the BJP’s saffron, orthodox style of governance. Not only did this win pulled congress out of the darkness if irrelevance so close to the next general election, if Congress played it cards right, 2019 could very well turn out to be the biggest shock in the modern political history where the strongest Prime Ministerial tenure of India could be laid low in its first re-election campaign!

Congress party has been trying to find a voice since Prime Minister Modi came into power and it seems they finally have figured out what the people want to hear. There have been subtle changes in the Congress’ strategy which in the long run can as well take them to the highest office of the greatest democracy in the world. This revamp started with the top where Congress President Rahul Gandhi finally started embracing the unpolished inarticulate image which is prevalent in the electorate. The party and Rahul Gandhi himself have realised that the common man can relate to an underdog, ridiculed for his lack of knowledge or his unpolished average oratory skills. Accepting this perception of himself, in one fell swoop, Rahul Gandhi has laid bared the hypocrisy and Narcissism of the Bhartiya Janta Party and the average Janardan in India relates to this bullied and ridiculed underdog.

Another rather fortunate outcome of this constant bullying of Rahul Gandhi by the BJP is that in the last 4 years, anyone who was even slightly not convinced that Rahul Gandhi is ready has already left the Congress party. By these constant insults and let down, all the rationals and all the opportunists have already switched sides and the current cadre of Congress party is loyal to a fault towards their leader. With such a fired up cader, it comes to no surprise that Congress party was able to remove BJP from their most powerful strongholds of MP and Chattisgarh. After the results were announced, Rahul Gandhi left no stone unturned to lavish praises on the party cadre calling them Babbar Sher or a ‘Lion’ which clearly depicts the environment inside the Congress party’s organisation where the Cader is fully behind the leader and the leader has no qualms to give the praise where due, a combination which almost always results in success whatever the mission may be.

Right before the 2019 general elections, history has put Congress party on crossroads where one road takes it to the business, as usual, run of the mill politics it has been doing since the independence and the other road takes it towards the liberal, progressive India that could be. They can very well mess it up by choosing party veterans like Ashok Gehlot and Kamalnath as the Chief Ministers of the two largest states of the country. People are fed up of India still being stuck in the 19th century and its time for the new kind of leadership, with the Pilots and Tharoors and Scindias, Rahul Gandhi can project a young, liberal leadership for young India. They can start by appointing Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan and Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh, if these two leaders struck a chord with the states they lead, the people can fully get behind a young and diligent leader(God knows the country needs one) Congress will have a golden chance to get the 50 odd Lok Sabha seats these two states combined have which will provide it with the unparalleled, unfathomable chance of dethroning the strongest and most charismatic leader of modern India.