Finally the tables are starting to turn for Rahul Gandhi.
If the Congress president disappeared after every election defeat, leaving the field open for his detractors to mock, jeer and heckle him, today, he showed that he is not just fighting it out, but here to stay.
Minutes after BS Yeddyurappa conceded defeat on the floor of the Assembly, Rahul Gandhi addressed a press conference, starting off with a stinging attack on the BJP MLAs for deserting the House even as the national anthem was being played on.
Gandhi was quick to turn the tables on the "nationalist" party over the "disrespect shown to the national anthem by the BJP MLAs" and remind the people about the difference between what the saffron party preaches and practices. While he tore into the BJP, even his staunchest critics couldn't help but recall that it was the same BJP which milked the national anthem debate big time in the recent past.
"This [behaviour and ideology] is what we are fighting."
Did you notice that after the entire exercise in Karnataka Vidhan Sabha, the BJP legislators & speaker chose to leave the house before the national anthem? It shows they can disrespect any institution if in power, both BJP & RSS have disrespected institutions: Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/ZjUNzpFIeV— ANI (@ANI) May 19, 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi : PM (Mr Modi) says he is fighting corruption but, “He IS Corruption” !!! pic.twitter.com/sfYkKYQTPu— Supriya Bhardwaj (@Supriya23bh) May 19, 2018
Even though he may have been behind the scenes, one has to admit the #KarnatakaFloortest was a test and hence is a victory for Rahul Gandhi. Negotiations and post poll management is an important part of politics, and Cong played it v well.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) May 19, 2018
"I hope that the BJP and the RSS learn a lesson that the will of the country cannot be disrespected," Rahul Gandhi said.
In the end, India’s voice and democratic spirit will always triumph over tyranny.Satyamev Jayate— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 19, 2018
While the media started its usual punditry about the onset of the big battle for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi very carefully turned it into a fight to save democracy from the clutches of Narendra Modi.
In an unusually combative mood, the much-derided Congress president for the first time exuded the confidence of taking on Modi lock, stock and barrel.
Congratulating his partymen and the JD(S) for standing up to "Narendra Modi's corruption" and fighting back, Rahul said he is "proud that the Opposition has stood together and defeated BJP".
Rahul, it seemed, came prepared to undo all those unkind predictions previously heaped on him by his detractors and took the fight right into Modi's doors. “PM Modi talks about corruption, but the truth is that PM Modi is increasing corruption and in a way is corruption himself,” he said, adding that the horse-trading and "purchase of MLAs was directly authorised by New Delhi".
Rahul was referring to the audio clips that the Congress unleashed before Saturday's much-awaited floor test, alleging horse-trading by BJP leaders, including Yeddyurappa.
"I am proud to say that they have been shown that in India, power is not everything, money is not everything... the will of the people is everything," he said.
The BJP, which was invited by Karnataka governor to form the government on Wednesday with just 104 seats, was eight short of the majority-mark. On Saturday, Yeddyurappa admitted that his party has failed to cobble up the required numbers.
While all eyes will be set on the developments in Karnataka in the coming days, one thing is for sure — no one will challenge Rahul Gandhi's presence in politics anymore. If Narendra Modi is being hailed by the media as the "master communicator", Rahul Gandhi today showed you don't need big words to whip the audience into a frenzy.
The Congress president, for sure, is the next "storm" to watch out for.