Rahul Gandhi on Sunday emphatically announced that he was calling off his election rallies in West Bengal due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was only days after the senior Congress leader attended massive rallies in poll bound states.
The announcement by Rahul Gandhi ostensibly came after his planned participation in rallies was over. Election rallies in recent times have come under intense scrutiny due to surging Covid-19 cases in the country. Opposition parties have attempted to use the sentiments to target the BJP while maintaining a strategic silence over their own rallies which have witnessed massive crowds and are continuing to attract large crowds.
Rahul Gandhi clearly made an attempt to capitalise on the sentiment. However, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, senior leader of the Congress party, is continuing to attend crowded rallies in direct contradiction of the message Gandhi. It appears to be part of a well-crafted strategy.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury shared pictures from his rally at the Naoda Vidhan Sabha Constituency in support of the alliance backed candidate. The Congress party is in an alliance with the Left Front and Abbas Siddiqui’s ISF in the state.
জোট সমর্থিত কংগ্রেসের প্রার্থী মোশারফ হোসেনের সমর্থনে আজ নওদাতে এক সভায় pic.twitter.com/BqJY1b0xZP— Adhir Chowdhury (@adhirrcinc) April 18, 2021
He shared pictures from a rally in Malda as well in support of another candidate.
মালদা বিধানসভা কেন্দ্রের জোট সমর্থিত কংগ্রেসের প্রার্থী ভূপেন্দ্রনাথ হালদারের সমর্থনে আজ মালদাতে এক সভায় pic.twitter.com/EhjINOgNWD— Adhir Chowdhury (@adhirrcinc) April 18, 2021
Thus, quite clearly, Gandhi’s announcement of ‘canceling’ his rallies in West Bengal appears to be a tactic only to earn plaudits on social media. The reality on the ground is quite different. The Trinamool Congress as well has adopted a similar strategy where they refrain from uploading photographs of their rallies on Twitter but continue organising them nevertheless.