Congress Works on Rahul Rebrand With Manifesto as Priyanka Saddles Up For Joust With Modi
Over the last few days, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi has focused more of his time on selling the poll manifesto, and promoting the party’s plans for the nation if it is voted to power.
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. (Image: PTI)
New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into politics has not just given the Congress hope of a revival of fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, it has also allowed the party to rebrand Rahul Gandhi as a progressive leader who can take the country forward with his policies.
Over the last few days, the Congress president has focused more of his time on selling the poll manifesto, and promoting the party’s plans for the nation if it is voted to power.
He has ceded the role of attacking the Prime Minister and responding to his barbs to his sister, who the party feels is more up to the task and can also get away with more being a woman.
Congress insiders said NYAY – the minimum income guarantee scheme for the poorest 20 per cent – will be the big slogan to present Rahul Gandhi as a leader who offers change and hope.
“In 2014, PM Modi was aggressive but even while attacking Congress he was projected as the man with a mission, which worked. In 2019, we want Rahul to take that space,” said a senior party leader.
The agencies hired for this job and to handle the party’s campaign have been given the brief that Rahul has to be shown as the messiah of the people.
“If we have to project Rahul as the PM face, he has to show the gravitas which comes with the post. So while he will attack PM on Rafale deal and unemployment, the day-to-day rebuttal to PM’s statements will be no longer be a part of his domain,” the leader said.
The change in Rahul Gandhi’s profile has with it also brought a change in Priyanka’s role in this bitterly-fought election, as she has taken on the mantle of attacking the Prime Minister over the last few days from her brother.
From attacking Modi’s “56-inch chest”, to claiming he had Biriyani in Pakistan, Priyanka Gandhi has not held back.
Top Congress sources say Priyanka Gandhi will now no longer restrict herself only to eastern UP and is expected to move beyond soon.
The party acknowledges that she matches up with the PM better in terms of her oratory skills, and she also can reach to the masses more than the Congress chief.
It will be left to Priyanka Gandhi to travel extensively to take on the PM and make attacks on him, at times even personal ones, while Rahul Gandhi cultivates his image as an agent of change.
It’s felt in the party circles that as a woman, Priyanka can get away with much more as the PM or BJP chief Amit Shah cannot respond to her with the same force.
It is clear that the sister-brother duo has been battling on two frontiers at one go.
This is the same approach that was taken by the Congress when Sonia Gandhi was at the helm. While Sonia’s charisma came from her non-rebuttal and infrequent ones at that, Rahul would respond to all of the PM’s barbs.
The same formula is being applied here now. But behind this strategy is also an acknowledgment of the fact that when it comes to reaching out and being impactful, Priyanka scores over Rahul. Her cryptic one liners can grab the headlines.
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