Prime Minister Narendra Modi thrashed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi black and blue in the just-concluded state Assembly elections. But then, what’s new in that? Nobody expected "Pappu" to beat Modi anyway.
That’s not news. But a secondary battle was brewing between Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Probably the biggest battle was raging in Punjab. The ruling SAD-BJP combine had been disgraced and thanks to this anti-incumbency, the chief minister’s post was up for grabs.
Initially the news was that Kejriwal himself was eyeing that post while Captain Amarinder Singh had a tiff with Rahul Gandhi and was planning to launch his own party.
That’s when most put their money behind Kejriwal and started predicting that the AAP would storm to power in Punjab. Then Gandhi did something right. He made peace with Amarinder and gave him a free hand.
Kejriwal did something bizarre and promoted Bhagwant Mann as the chief ministerial candidate.
Bad move. Mann is the laughing stock of Twitter and that’s one medium Kejriwal derives all his power from. So, the end result is that the Congress stormed to power and the AAP missed a golden opportunity. Who knows what the conditions will be in Punjab in the next elections way ahead in 2022. Pappu 1; Kejri 0.
|All the Modi haters, #Intolerance brigade and #AwardWapsi gang will give it one last shot to topple Modi in 2019.|
The way Kejriwal stormed to power in New Delhi in 2015 and picked up four seats in the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab in 2014, the AAP was supposed to do reasonably well in Goa. Well, whether it was #Demonetisation or something else, the AAP campaign fell apart in Goa long back.
Forget power, the AAP can’t even be a credible opposition in a small state like Goa. This is a serious dent to the AAP’s ambitions. They had made a strategy of targeting all the smaller states first. Pappu 2; Kejri 0.
So, Pappu wins as AAP doesn’t even have a presence outside these few states.
Finally, the Congress party is in such poverty that they will take the fact that they are in the Top 2 in Goa, Manipur and Uttaranchal. Even if you are in the Opposition, you are around to fight another day.
Uttar Pradesh was a huge debacle, but you have to admit that Akhilesh Yadav proved to be a bigger Pappu, and Mayawati to be an even bigger disaster.
The Congress still has the second-largest organisation after the BJP and looks like the central ambitions of Mayawati-Mulayam-Akhilesh have been totally cut to size. So much so that the Congress may even dream of coming a distant second if they contest all the Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019. Remember their 2009 success under Rahul Gandhi?
Kejriwal has been cut to size. J. Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu) is no more. Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) is ailing. Nitish Kumar (Bihar) is a good guy, but he has the Lalu millstone around his neck. Mamata Banerjee is making a total mess of West Bengal. Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra) has been reduced to Mumbai-Thane. Rahul Gandhi can still fancy himself to be Modi’s biggest challenger if he wants to.
One by one, all the regional leaders are being stripped off their national ambitions. Looking at it from one angle, Gandhi has been a disaster, but looked at from another angle, he is around to fight another day.
There is still no leadership challenge to him in the Congress. Sonia Gandhi is absent on yet another mysterious illness. It is anyone’s guess how long she can continue as the Congress president. With the way the Congress works, they may use this “victory” to elevate Rahul Gandhi to the post of party president and launch Mission 2019.
People were talking of this as being a semi-final. If that is the case then Pappu has definitely beaten Kejri to enter the final. Make no mistake. All the Modi haters, #Intolerance brigade and #AwardWapsi gang will give it one last shot to topple Modi in 2019.
They will rally around whoever stands tallest amongst all the opposition pygmies. That mantle could well fall on a certain Rahul Gandhi!