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Task Completed

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The completion of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ without serious embarrassment is an achievement, the credit for which goes undoubtedly to ‘event manager’ Jairam Ramesh. That the Congress, along with its fellow travellers, could fly the Tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, and to quote Rahul Gandhi, ‘make the journey without having grenades thrown at us’, became possible, it has to be admitted, because of the transformation that has taken place in J&K since the abrogation of Article 370.

Has the image building exercise benefited Rahul Gandhi? The effort to present him as some political savant destined to communicate the message of unity and love to the Indian people will require a high level of gullibility to digest, but politics does spring many surprises. However, there is one consistency in the Congress pitch – there is only one leader of the party who will be its candidate for Prime Minister should it ever get into a position to provide one. This is based on the calculation that the party will have the largest number of seats from among the opposition should the BJP fail at the hustings under Narendra Modi, unlikely as it may seem, at present. This is because all the other opposition parties are confined to their respective states and the seats available to each are restricted. It is another matter that the regional satraps are not convinced and have, therefore, held back from full endorsement of the Yatra.

Rahul Gandhi’s hand will be strengthened if the Congress scores victories in the coming assembly elections. A narrative will be built around the yatra almost to the point where he may even be credited with having healed the sick and walked on water. It will be for the BJP to counter it with the right dose of disparagement. In this day and age, there is enough recorded material available for such purposes on social media. Time will tell what catches the people’s imagination but the Congress, at least for the time being, will be in an elevated mood.