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From 'Lazy' to 'Endless Energy': Rahul Gandhi’s Transformation in Karnataka

Rahul Gandhi has already travelled through 25 districts in the state and will be touring three more districts on Saturday and Sunday. If he visits Uttara Kannada and Kodagu in the coming days, Gandhi would be covering all 30 districts in the state. A record for the president of a national party.

D P Satish | CNN-News18dp_satish

Updated:April 7, 2018, 12:21 PM IST
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From 'Lazy' to 'Endless Energy': Rahul Gandhi’s Transformation in Karnataka
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi meets supporters during a roadshow as part of his Janashirvada Yatra on March 25. (PTI)
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Bengaluru: About six month ago, some Karnataka Congress leaders used to joke in private that they might do better minus Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in the Assembly elections. Now, the same leaders are openly admitting that Gandhi’s campaign seem to be working favourably and the party needs more of him. Actually, the Congress president is leading the party from the front, giving hope to the cadres across Karnataka.

And the party men explain that after Gujarat Assembly elections they are seeing a different Rahul Gandhi who is fully charged and ready to do leg work for the Congress. Rahul Gandhi kicked off his Karnataka tour in the last week of January from Bellary district and has been receiving a good response across the state since then.

Unlike Modi and Amit Shah of the BJP, he mostly travels by a special bus and easily mingles with the people. He took a bus ride from Bellary to Gulbarga, covering a distance of over 400 km and holding public and corner meetings at several places. His first leg was a success and the party decided to stick to the same formula.

In February, he toured Lingayat dominated Mumbai – Karnataka region, comprising seven districts, again in a bus using helicopters occasionally. That leg was also a success. In the third, fourth and fifth leg also Rahul Gandhi mostly used bus to travel length and breadth of the state.

According to Karnataka state Congress working president Dinesh Gundurao, he has already covered almost 2000 km and is full of energy. “He is a bundle of endless energy. He inspires both party leaders and workers. He leads us from the front. Wherever Rahul Gandhi campaigned in the last two months, we have got a very good response,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi has already travelled through 25 districts in the state and will be touring three more districts on Saturday and Sunday. No Congress president has been to so many districts in the recent past, claim party leaders in Karnataka. If he visits Uttara Kannada and Kodagu in the coming days, Gandhi would be covering all 30 districts in the state. A record for the president of a national party.

His temple run has also been a big hit among Congress supporters. He has visited over a dozen big temples and Mutts during his Karnataka tour and is likely to visit a few more before Karnataka votes on May 12.

“The BJP was spreading rumours that Rahul Gandhi is lazy, he can’t do hard work, he is not for Hindus etc. But Rahul Gandhi has proved them wrong. The BJP and RSS lies have been exposed. They are now rattled by the response he is getting all over Karnataka,” said a senior leader of the Congress.

Unlike in the past, Rahul Gandhi is now using high-end technology to connect with the people. All his tours and rallies are beamed live on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. His Hindi speeches are translated into Kannada by a senior leader of the party at every place.

“We literally forced Congress and BJP to go for a translator. Earlier, they used to address us in Hindi, which most people don’t understand in Karnataka. They used to take us for granted. The Congress has now realized its mistake and all speeches of Rahul Gandhi are translated into Kannada. Even Amit Shah’s speeches are translated at many places. But Modi’s speeches are not,” said Arun Javagal, a new-age Kannada activist and a software professional.

Rahul Gandhi is also meeting block Congress and district party presidents in each district, and discussing the poll scenario. “He is trying to endear himself to the cadre and local level leaders. It was not the case earlier. We are happy with this. We can frankly exchange our views with him. He listens to us and takes decisions,” said a district Congress president.

On Saturday and Sunday, Rahul Gandhi will tour Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts close to Bengaluru. He will address a mega public meeting in Bengaluru on Sunday to mark the end of chief minister Siddaramaiah’s “Jana Ashirvada Yathre”.

One has to wait and see if the support he is drawing gets translated into votes for the Congress.
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