“They Spread Hate, We spread Love”.
When Rahul Gandhi said these words in the Parliament during the no-confidence motion in parliament, brought in by the Telugu Desam Party, a buzz was created in the arena of political discussions. Some days before this incident, a news popped up that the Congress party isn’t happy at the derogatory made on Rajiv Gandhi in the Netflix TV Series ‘Sacred Games’. Incidentally, a Congress MLA also filed a formal complaint against the show’s makers. But, what would be called a turn in the tide, Rahul Gandhi tweeted on the matter – ” BJP/RSS believe the freedom of expression must be policed and controlled. I believe this freedom is a fundamental democratic right. My Father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character on a fictional web series can never change that”.
This was a fairly mature and understanding approach from Rahul. It may be possible that someone in his office actually tweeted that for him, but this tweet and the incident in the parliament where he dramatically hugged Modiji signifies two main things. First, the Rahul Gandhi which we knew is trying to change his immature and rookie politician image. Not only these two incidents, but there are various other incidents where he adopted the quintessential ‘Gandhigiri’ attitude to deal with situations. These kind of small but significant gestures are actually emanating a positive image of Rahul in people. He is trying to be this neutral and non-radical force against the highly aggressive political campaign of the BJP. There were numerous posts on social media after the no-confidence motion dramatics, which praised Rahul’s attitude. An interesting fact to be noted was that after Gandhi hugged Modi, he became immensely uncomfortable, which was palpable from his unusually dry and repetitive speech in the parliament. This will go a long way in garnering support for the leadership of Rahul Gandhi if we are going to see a united opposition against the Modi election machine in 2019.
The second significance is more important the first. BJP’s tenure has been scarred by many instances of hate crimes, hate politics and radical steps. Rahul Gandhi and his team are trying to portray an image of his, which not only believes in the nationalistic sentiment but is also considerate and understanding about contentious topics like freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech has been talked about a lot in these past four years, mostly in the negative light. But that tweet of Rahul Gandhi in the sacred games remark shows the stand of Gandhi for that matter.
However, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress alone won’t be enough to pose an imminent threat to the BJP juggernaut. BJP has increased its support in the last four years many folds. It encompasses huge sections of the society. The only way it can be threatened is by a united opposition, against Modi and Shah’s BJP. Only then, they would be able to gather support from all the sections of the society. It seems like the time is nearing close when the Janta Party of the 80’s (excluding JDU) join hands with the Congress to stop one of the biggest and most successful election machines in India- The BJP.