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Congress ecosystem tries to prove Rahul Gandhi is not a ‘Pappu’ after his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, but in vain

With dwindling electoral success, the defection of its top leaders to rival parties, and loss of touch with the common people, the Bharat Jodo Yatra was in a way the last resort of the Gandhi dynast to revive the Congress party's political fortunes.

Bharat Jodo Yatra, the 3,800 km-long political foot pilgrimage (padyatra) of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, came to an end on January 30 this year at Sher-E-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar.

With dwindling electoral success, the defection of its top leaders to rival parties, and loss of touch with the common people, the Bharat Jodo Yatra was in a way the last resort of the Gandhi dynast to revive the Congress party’s political fortunes.

For a change, Rahul Gandhi managed to stick to one task for a whopping 135 days and tried to shed his image as a ‘part-time’ politician. Thanks to his coterie of supporters on social media, including top activists, and friendly journalists who had taken upon the task of executing an ‘image makeover’.

Be it the portrayal of Rahul Gandhi as the ‘ideal son and brother’ or a macho man who can ‘handle rain, snow and hail’ with ease, the Congress ecosystem has left no stone unturned in the hopes of reviving his political career.

Now, the same coterie is desperately trying to convince the new age electorates that Rahul Gandhi is no more the ‘Pappu’ that he once used to be in the political sphere of India.

Leading the pack was none other than the ‘Radia Tapes’ fame journalist, Vir Sanghi. In a propaganda piece in The Print, he made a strong case for Rahul Gandhi and dubbed him as a politician who finally has a shot at defeating the incumbent Narendra Modi.

Nidhi Razdan, a former NDTV ‘journalist’ who never went to Harvard, also claimed that Rahul Gandhi had been successful in destroying his ‘Pappu’ image. “Even the Congress’ staunchest critics would admit it has been a remarkable feat. The “Pappu” image created by the BJP is gone,” she announced.

‘Journalist’ Swati Chaturvedi, often mistaken as a Congress troll, also did not mince any words in declaring that Rahul Gandhi has finally won the war of perception.

“Walking 4,080 kilometres, Rahul Gandhi has comprehensively (demolished) the “Pappu” image that the infamous IT cell has created for him Congress cadre now knows what Gandhi stands for & is enthused by him. Another first this was Gandhi’s politics of conviction,” she said.

Even the news agency, Press Trust of India (PTI), could not help itself and cited experts to announce the ultimate ‘de-pappufication’ of the Congress scion.

“A day after the Kanyakumari to Kashmir campaign ended here on Monday, several experts, however, agreed his “coming-of-age” look reflects the larger image transformation he has undergone in terms of people’s perception,” the article read.

It may be recalled that Raghuram Rajan, former RBI Governor and Congress sympathiser, was the first to point out that Rahul Gandhi is not a ‘Pappu.’ In an interview with India Today, Rajan said, “I have spent a decade interacting with #RahulGandhi and he is not a ‘pappu’. He is smart.”

Rahul Gandhi reinforced his ‘Pappu’ image during Bharat Jodo Yatra

While Congress stooges may want us to believe that 52-year-old Rahul Gandhi has really ‘come of age’, his actions during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ reflects why ‘de-pappufication’ is far from reality.

It may be recalled how the ‘daring’ and ‘brave’ Congress leader counted not wearing a sweater in Delhi’s winter as an achievement. “I do not wear a sweater because I am not scared of cold. You wear one because you are scared,” Rahul Gandhi told a reporter in December last year.

During the Haryana leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, he made another bizarre claim when he said, “Rahul Gandhi is in your head. I have killed him. He does not exist anymore. He is not in my mind. He is gone. Gone. The person you are seeing is not Rahul Gandhi.”

This statement even confused AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, who was forced to inquire whether the Congress leader was a Jinn. On January 8 this year, Rahul Gandhi drew bizarre analogies between the Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and the Swayamvar of Draupadi from ‘Mahabharata.’

“The story of Arjuna (not announcing his plans in advance like me) has a profound meaning. It is also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita. You focus on the work and do not think about the results. This is the thinking behind the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” he claimed.

The Congress scion’s ignorance of Mahabharata is not surprising, but his assumption that others share his ignorance of the Hindu epic is staggering.

Not only that, Rahul Gandhi had everyone in splits after he demonstrated martial arts and ‘the energy absorption’ technique to ward off ‘physical attacks’ by the BJP and RSS.

The martial arts ‘expert’ asked a Congress leader to sit on his knees and then proceeded to push him from the front. When the said leader failed to maintain his balance, Rahul Gandhi suggested a way to take the opponent’s energy instead (referring to the BJP).

Not just through martial arts, he also amused the internet by claiming that even ‘dogs, cows, buffaloes, and pigs’ attended the Bharat Jodo Yatra without any harm.

He had announced, “I don’t know if you have noticed it or not, but in this campaign(BJY), dogs participated, but no one killed them. Cows, buffaloes, and pigs also joined in, I saw them. All animals came. This Yatra is like our India. There is no hatred or violence here.”

The greatest highlight of his padayatra was perhaps the unhinged rant against Pooja (Hindu form of worship) while trying to promote his latest avatar as Tapasvi ( an ascetic).

While speaking to the media in Samana near Kurukshetra, Rahul Gandhi claimed that BJP is a party of ‘Pooja’ while Congress is a party of ‘Tapasya.‘

Upon realising that he may have upset his Hindu voters by taking potshots at their religious practice, Rahul Gandhi tried to undo the damage but ended up causing more harm to his party. “There are two types of Pooja – the normal one and the one done by RSS,” Rahul brazened it out.

“RSS wants people to forcibly worship them(do their Pooja). The response to such a form of worship can only be tapasya,” Rahul said. he also claimed that lakhs of people are doing ‘tapasya‘, along with Congress, to counter the effects of the ‘pooja’ of BJP and RSS.

The Congress ecosystem is hell-bent to convince voters that Rahul Gandhi has changed for the better and that his unkempt beard is symbolic of his maturity, and he is no longer a ‘Pappu’. But for someone who has followed his political journey over the last decade, the contemporary version of ‘Pappu’ is no different from the ‘Pappu’ of the past

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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