The Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s address at the Jan Aakrosh (people’s anger) Rally at historic Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on April 29 was a clarion call to the people who were angry with the Modi government at the centre that they should throw it out in 2019 elections. He sounded the poll bugle for 2019. Making a scathing attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not fulfilling a single promise in 2014, not providing jobs to the youth, slowing down economic growth, imposing demonetization and GST and polluting the whole atmosphere with communal feelings and hatred among different communities. He claimed that the Congress would win the next round of the assembly elections and also the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. He said the BJP came to power to remove corruption, but the graft gripped the country in a more menacing way.
He referred to Modi’s meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping in which he did not raise the controversial issue of Doklam where the armies of both the countries have been eyeball to eyeball for a long time. When China did not withdraw its army, what is the use of giving instructions to the forces not to create provocation? He said that people listened to the speeches of the Prime Minister and then tried to find out the truth and when they failed, they got angry. Their anger will be channelized in coming assemblies and the Lok Sabha elections.
Rahul Gandhi was all praise for his party workers and said they could be harassed, beaten and even killed but they would not retreat from the path of truth. He even dealt with the remarks of the senior leader Salman Khurshid that created heartburns among the rank and file of the party and said he would accept the difference of opinion, but when the party was fighting the BJP and the RSS, all should speak in one voice. The BJP was shaken by this rally which was also addressed by the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The BJP chief Amit Shah was quick to give retort.
Amit Shah said it was not people’s anger but wrath from the Congress. The BJP chief forgot the party’s defeat in UP’s constituencies of Gorakhpur and Phulpur represented by the state Chief Minister and his deputy. Were these defeats in the bastion of the BJP party not the reflection of people’s anger? He alleged that the Congress trampled the authority of public institutions. Again he ignored the fact that during the four years rule of the BJP many public institutions were targeted and forced to toe the line of the party. It is alleged that even judiciary is no exception. Forgetting the bitter fact that maligned the image of his party, Amit Shah demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi. At present it is the Prime Minister who should tender his apology. The BJP chief asked why the Congress stalled the proceedings of Parliament. In a reply, the Congress could ask why the BJP adamantly put a grinding halt to Parliamentary proceedings for weeks together in the past. In the last session, it was the hesitation of the Prime Minister to speak that forced the speaker and chairman of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively to adjourn the Houses every day. Despite the ruckus by the TDP, TRS and other party members, Parliament could have been conducted.
The sharp shrinkage in the BJP base and fast decline in PM’s popularity are the causes of concern for the ruling party. On the eve of elections, there is no time for course correction. Again the BJP is adamant not to accept that PM committed blunders in imposing demonetization, introducing GST, allowing corruption and loot of banks and interfering into Muslim Personal Law. The hollow eloquence will hardly take the people for a ride as it did in the 2014 elections.