“I tell you what my opinion on the Ordinance is: That it is complete nonsense. It should be torn up and thrown away. That’s my opinion,” uttered Rahul Gandhi as he made a surprise appearance at a press conference called by Congress media head Ajay Maken in September 2013. Rahul Gandhi in the press conference appeared and tore down a recent ordinance cleared by the Manmohan Singh Government, which sought to negate a Supreme Court judgment which called for sitting MPs and MLA’s that have been jailed on charges or after conviction, to resign from their seats.
Just months after Rahul Gandhi was made the Congress Vice President in January 2013, this move by the Gandhi-Nehru scion was hailed by a large section of the media as the mark of a new beginning for the young (then 47 years old ) leader. However with clever politics at play, many observers had noted the underlying idea behind this dramatic dissent, the upcoming Lok Sabha elections just months away in the summers of 2014. What followed was a soft projection of Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister candidate by the Congress, also joining the efforts to project Rahul Gandhi was that a section of media, nurtured over decades under the rule of Congress.
However despite overarching efforts, in the 2014 General election, the grand old party faced a humiliating defeat by posting its worst-ever performance in its electoral history. A party which had once ruled with more than 400 seats in the Lower House was just reduced to 44 seats. While rampant corruption was the major agenda driving the debate, the dearth of credible leadership on part of Congress in face of Narendra Modi of the NDA surely played a critical part in bringing the grand old party to where it was.
The electoral defeat in the 2014 general election was however just a beginning of a series of defeats Congress was yet to face in various state elections. The 2014 state assembly election in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand , 2015 state assembly elections in Bihar and Delhi, 2016 state assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal , 2017 state assembly elections in Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and 2018 state assembly elections in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Telangana and Tripura, Congress lost on all fronts mainly to its principle opposition the BJP and other regional forces like AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and CPIM in Kerala.
While Congress was successful in registering victories in certain state assembly like in 2017 Punjab assembly elections and other marginal victories like in the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections and others. While in between, despite the party suffering continuous failures on electoral fronts, Rahul Gandhi was ‘elected’ as the new Congress Chief in December 2017. The Congress friendly or otherwise referred as Lutyens media was however hell-bent on preserving the Image of the Gandhi-Nehru heir despite the electoral blunders suffered under his leadership. While Gandhi scion proceeded to claim moral victory for the election roadblocks, the Lutyens media furthered the same idea and attempted to mark ‘coming of Rahul Gandhi’ after the state election defeats.
Ultimately in the last decade or so, the darbari media or the Lutyens media had been periodically inundating ‘finally Rahul has come of age’ narrative in every six months.
If the defeats were used as such, the recent victories in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chattisgarh had portrayed a resurrection of the Gandhi Scion from the ashes, the media peddled the narrative. However not much later in the 2019 General Election Rahul Gandhi’s fate was sealed with Congress repeating its humiliating electoral performance arrive to at dismal 52 seats in 2019; The grand old party added to its tally however the margin of victory was considerably reduced. Tall leaders like Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia even Rahul Gandhi lost from erstwhile strongholds of the Congress.
Finally getting disillusioned from the Image of Rahul Gandhi that they themselves created, the Lutyens media have found a new candidate from within the Gandhi family, the newly inducted Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Since her coming to the political scene the media has been pushing all sorts of narrative from comparing her to Indira Gandhi and to declaring her the savior of the sinking ship.
The recent developments in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh only substantiate the Lutyens media’s skewed portrayal of Priyanka Vadra. After being detained by the Uttar Pradesh police at a guest house regarding maintaining law and order, the congress was fast to spread fake news by claiming that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was ‘arrested’ which was later categorically denied by UP DGP OP Singh. Following the events the entire congress ecosystem with the Lutyens media started projecting Priyanka Gandhi as some sort of a crusader against justice, while they kept mum on Priyanka’s silence on various law and order issues in Congress-ruled states.
Shivam Vij of the print was one of the first to join this trend and in his article titled “Priyanka Gandhi has entered UP politics lock, stock and barrel — overshadowing SP, BSP” he claims Priyanka to be ‘political martyr for the day’ reeks of similar attempts to put the Gandhi-Nehru –Vadra heir ‘Coming of age’. This churn around this manufactured controversy only indicates towards the resetting of ‘the coming of age of Priyanka’ narrative has been set which is poised to be followed vigorously over the next few days.
Not surprisingly the Lutyens media has again put forward a Gandhi-Nehru-Vadra member for their political narrative. This can also be an indication for a larger role for Priyanka Gandhi in the coming days. Political analyst had also indicated towards the same undercurrent prevailing in Congress and its ecosystem. Rasheed Kidwai in his article titled “Rahul as Patriarch, Priyanka for PM and a Padyatra: The 3 Trends Emerging from Congress Hour of Crisis” in News 18 had written “It is a hush-hush plan and an open secret. In the Congress scheme of things, Priyanka Gandhi will be projected as a prime ministerial face in 2024. However, it will all depend on how three people – Rahul Gandhi, his successor, and Priyanka, all doing different things and playing different roles — can work together and keep the Congress motivated and in the hunt for power.” While Rahul Gandhi has declared the no Gandhi will be president, it would not be a surprise if that turns out to be the case following a dramatic event.