How Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi scripted Congress' revival

The credit for this stunning revival goes to the campaigning strategy which was designed and led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.

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How Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi scripted Congress' revival

As the results for Lok Sabha elections 2024 were announced on June 4, one thing which became very clear to the people of India was the arrival (finally) of Rahul Gandhi. It would not be wrong to say that the Gandhi scion together with her sister Priyanka Gandhi led Congress from the front and scripted a stunning comeback for the Grand Old party. Congress was reduced to just 44 seats in 2014, and the party had managed to win only 52 seats in 2019. But in 2024 the party has performed quite well by its own standards and has succeeded in winning 99 seats. 

The credit for this stunning revival goes to the campaigning strategy which was designed and led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. Rahul, now arguably in his political prime at 53, helped Congress gain support of lost voters through his Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. Rahul kept on attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP during the two yatras. The yatras took the message across the country, the first edition starting from Kanyakumari and ending in Srinagar, while the second edition, kick started from Manipur, culminating in Mumbai. It is pertinent to mention here that Congress won both seats in Manipur and finished as single-largest in Maharashtra winning 13 out of 48 seats. 

How Priyanka Gandhi changed Congress' fortune?

On the other hand, Priyanka Gandhi, donned the mantle of 'campaigner-in-chief' for Congress and took upon herself the arduous task of taking the message of her party to the voters. Priyanka also used her political smartness to counter PM Modi’s jibes with equally sharp and pointed responses.

It was Priyanka Gandhi who blunted PM Modi's claim that the Congress is planning to ‘redistribute the wealth of Indians among Muslims’, claiming that Congress will also take away the ‘mangalsutras’ of Hindu women. Priyanka launched a counter attack by telling the voters that it is her mother Sonia Gandhi who had sacrificed her "mangalsutra" for Bharat.

"When there was a war, my grandmother (former PM Indira Gandhi) donated her gold to the country. My mother's mangalsutra was sacrificed for this country," Priyanka Gandhi said.

Throughout her campaign trail, Priyanka Gandhi remained focused on issues like unemployment, rising inflation, Agniveer etc. 

Rahul Gandhi’s emergence as a mature leader

For his part, Rahul Gandhi emerged as a mature leader this time and it would not be wrong to say that his regular interactions with people of different sections of society helped the Congress leader read the pulse of the voters.

Rahul Gandhi also succeeded in setting a narrative that PM Modi needs more than 400 seats to change the Constitution and end the reservation for OBCs, SCs and STs. The relentless attack on this line forced the BJP to drop its 'Abki Baar 400 Paar' slogan after the first two phases of voting. But the damage was done by that time as the campaign launched by Rahul and other INDIA alliance partners had reached the villages of the country. The superb performance of INDIA alliance partners in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana is a testimony to this fact.

Rahul Gandhi's promise of transferring money to poor women after coming to power also helped the Congress and this narrative left BJP stunned and for the first time in 10 years the party was found playing catch-up.

How Congress won Amethi and Raebareli

Rahul Gandhi addressed over 100 rallies across the country and Priyanka took the task of campaigning for Rahul and Kishori Lal Sharma in Gandhi family bastions of Raebareli and Amethi respectively.

In 2019, Rahul Gandhi was defeated by Smriti Irani of BJP in Amethi by a margin of over 50000 votes and this time Congress came up with an incredible plan of not fielding Rahul from Amethi and instead showed the trust in Gandhi family loyalist KL Sharma to take on Smriti Irani. The move worked well as KL Sharma defeated Irani by over 1,60,000 votes. Rahul, however, decided to contest from Raebareli, a neighbouring seat of Amethi which was held by Sonia Gandhi for over two decades. Priyanka Gandhi campaigned extensively in both Amethi and Raebareli and her hard work ultimately paid off as Congress wrested Amethi back from BJP and Rahul won from Raebareli with a huge margin of over 390000 votes.

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