Amethi—largely known as Nehru-Gandhi family bastion— has crumbled. Rahul Gandhi has accepted defeat in Amethi. BJP’s Smriti Irani has defeated Rahul Gandhi which is a big disgrace not only for the Congress President but also for the grand old party which could not retain the seat considered invincible for the opponent. With the fall of Amethi, Congress faces the real danger— the extinction of the party in Hindi-heartland. A loss which means Congress being reduced to a small party, having an insignificant presence in small pockets only.
Amethi loss signifies how Rahul Gandhi missed all the right signal and his election campaign failed to capture the imagination of the masses—social media impact was being taken as an electoral victory by Congress party but the rural population and ordinary voters remained outside the social-communication-network of Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul failed to rise to the challenge
When Rahul Gandhi decided to contest on the second seat in Kerala, this didn’t go down well with the voters of Amethi, it appears. Though Rahul’s decision has worked for Congress party’s favour in Kerala, but overall this gave the impression that Rahul was insecure of winning Amethi seat and Smriti Irani managed to literally push him to the corner, forcing him to contest from a safe seat to escape embarrassment.
What makes the matters worse it the fact that Smriti had been telling about her intention for many years now, visiting Amethi on regular intervals, interacting with voters and being involved in the development work in the constituency. But Rahul Gandhi did not take steps to blunt her challenge and win over the heart of the voters of his parliamentary constituency. This points to a serious flaw in his approach to addressing the challenges which ultimately culminated to the dismal performance of Congress in Lok Sabha Poll 2019.
Gandhi family faces leadership question
Amethi loss means Gandhi name is no longer a ticket to victory. Once ‘invincibility of Gandhi family’ is challenged, the logical question that follows is: Why Rahul should be at helms of affairs if he is not cut out to win elections for the party?
Perhaps, Amethi’s defeat could actually be a blessing in disguise for the Congress: Young leaders who don’t belong to Gandhi clan may voice their concerns and demand their due say in the affairs of the party. Congress needs a new crop of talented leaders who rise up from the cadre and understand the ills that afflict the party.
One message that resonance with the masses
Narendra Modi talked about “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”, national security, development and growth. But Rahul Gandhi, or any other Opposition leader, could not come close to Modi in making a pitch that could address the issues afflicting the common man. Neither the message nor the messenger of the Opposition could make an impact on the voters.
Amethi voters have given the verdict against Rahul Gandhi.
Now, Congress party must introspect and tell Rahul : Perform or perish.