February 5, 2018
The posturing for Congress’s new chief Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial face in the 2019 parliamentary polls has well begun.
While the party is set to wait till the various assembly polls are out of its way this year before it steps up the campaign around Rahul, several Congress volunteers who run surrogate pages on social media have begun to send out feelers in a bid to get a sense of mass sentiment.
‘While there is no doubt that Rahul Gandhi will be the PM contender for us next year, it is always good to get a feel of how people are reacting to it and whether they are enthusiastic about it. This also gives us a sense of what people want to see in him and will help us finetune our poll strategy,” said a senior party leader requesting anonymity.
“There are several other equations that will play out right before the parliamentary polls depending on how the alliances with other parties work out. Before announcing Rahul Gandhi as the PM face, the idea has to be left floating in the masses for it to build up and gather steam,” the leader added.
“Whether he will solely take on Modi or will he lead a united Opposition charge will become clear much later and the official campaign will have to be fashioned accordingly.”
RG NEXT PM OF INDIA
Facebook pages such as ‘Rahul Gandhi As Next PM of India’, ‘RG Next PM of India’, ‘Next PM RG’ among others, run by Congress party volunteers and sympathisers are keeping a tab on the traction and will eventually provide feedback to the party.
“There are over 20 or so surrogate pages and they are run by friends and sympathisers of the Congress party. The social media team or the party’s main strategy teams are too tied up with the upcoming assembly polls as of now. So while they focus on the imminent polls, the surrogate pages will begin creating a buzz around Rahul Gandhi,” said a party leader.
“We are in touch with those running these surrogate pages and will soon submit a report on what the initial feedback is so that the social media and campaign strategy teams can take it forward, said another senior party functionary.
“This is just the groundwork and our focus currently is on the assembly polls in Karnataka and later in the year in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” the leader added.
“We seem to have a strong footing in these states right now and we have to build on our campaigns here,’ the leader went on to say, explaining that the party’s current focus is on the upcoming state elections: ‘So to officially pitch Rahul Gandhi for the PM’s post right now will not only take away from our assembly poll campaigns but will not have much impact.”
“The actual campaign around Rahul ji will begin only once we are closer to the parliamentary polls.”
Since the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament, the party has stepped up attack on the Narendra Modi government and launched a campaign on how the days of the government are numbered.
Official social media handles of the party’s various frontal cells and wings along with senior leaders and Rahul himself, have been tweeting with the “bas ek aur saal” hashtag.
From alleging ‘four years of misgovernance’ to citing ‘complete failure’, the party promises to come back to power next year, telling the electorate that there is just one year to go for the Modi government.