Congress looks for southern comfort in New Year with Rahul Gandhi’s Tamil Nadu visit

As anticipated, Makar Sankranti is about to usher in some political exercise in the Grand Previous Social gathering battling inertia and management disaster.

Rahul Gandhi, having returned from Milan, is about to have fun Pongal on January 14 at Aavaniyapuram, Madurai, attending Jallikattu as a part of the Tamil custom of valour. The timing and selection of the venue have a number of takeaways.

Tamil Nadu is seen as an oasis of electoral hope.

Technically, Rahul is now not the Congress president. Nevertheless, the heat, hype and significance accorded to him in poll-bound Tamil Nadu signifies that the political management of the social gathering is firmly with him whilst his mom Sonia Gandhi is interim All India Congress Committee (AICC) chief and sister Priyanka Gandhi is AICC normal secretary.

For ally DMK and its supremo, MK Stalin, it’s a clear sign that every one pre- and post-poll negotiations, collection of candidates, and so forth, will carry a definite Rahul stamp. Sharad Pawar and his sympathisers, who’ve been floating a trial balloon of UPA chairperson’s put up going out of Gandhis and the Congress, are daydreaming as 10, Janpath is in no temper to encourage it.

Congress folklore has it that the non-public bond between Rahul and Stalin is so robust that in 2019 a piece of Congress had toyed with the thought of the DMK supremo because the nation’s dwelling minister had the Might 2019 verdict favoured a non-NDA entrance.

Vacation spot Tamil Nadu as Rahul’s first political exercise of 2021 has its personal implication. In April-Might 2021, state Meeting polls are due in West Bengal, Assam, Puducherry, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The equal of Makar Sankranti (that means to go from one place to a different or altering route) is widely known in many elements of the nation, together with Assam, Bengal and Kerala. It marks a day when the Solar modifications route from one constellation (of the zodiac) to a different or the transition of the Solar from Sagittarius to Capricorn through the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere (Uttarayana).

However Rahul opted for Aavaniyapuram as a result of the Congress fancies its greatest electoral prospects in the state. The DMK-Congress alliance is about to attain over AIADMK notably when megastar Rajinikanth’s foray into electoral politics turned to be a non-starter because of the actor’s detached well being.

Rahul is Congress MP from Wayanad. Beneath regular circumstances, the Congress-led United Democratic Entrance (UDF) hoped to dislodge the ruling Left Democratic Entrance (LDF) in Kerala. Nevertheless, the current civic polls in Kerala have come as a impolite jolt to the Congress and its allies.

Abruptly, the 75-year-old Pinarayi Vijayan has emerged as a poster boy of types. Some Congress leaders assume voters in Kerala might view chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan as a saviour of types through the Covid time.

In a current Kalinga Literary Pageant dialog, writer and Congress dissident chief Sanjay Jha favoured projection of Shashi Tharoor as Congress’ chief ministerial nominee. Whereas Tharoor might have some credentials to stake a declare, in the faction-ridden state Congress, there are numerous contenders specifically Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Cheninthela, KC Venugopal and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran.

There are some questioning whether or not Rahul, having returned from Europe, ought to have voluntarily opted for dwelling quarantine as a substitute of heading in the direction of Aavaniyapuram.

However for a bulk of social gathering leaders, his inclination or disinclination in the direction of the highest social gathering job is a subject of intense hypothesis and curiosity. They need fast solutions to the next:

1. Will the Congress Central Election Authority headed by Madhusudan Mistry lastly submit a celebration ballot schedule to Sonia Gandhi and Congress Working Committee (CWC) this week?

2. Will Rahul Gandhi throw his hat in the ring in the AICC presidential polls?

3. Will Rajasthan political tussle between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot finish amicably?

4. Will Sonia Gandhi proceed as Congress Parliamentary Social gathering (CPP) chairperson and UPA chief?

5. Will the Congress management work on a plan to unite numerous anti-NDA-BJP-Narendra Modi forces?

Seventeen years in the past, Makar Sankranti interval of January 2004 had seen Rahul formally coming into politics. There was plenty of jubilation, hype and celebrations. In January 2021, even probably the most diehard Congressman is in some way cautious and circumspect about Rahul’s future and his success. Will Indira Gandhi’s grandson show them unsuitable?

(Journalist Rasheed Kidwai is the writer of 24 Akbar Highway and Sonia A Biography)

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