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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | How Kharge, Rahul's unique 'jugalbandi' helped revive Congress

Hailed by Congress cadres as 'Solillada Saradara', a leader who has faced no defeat, Kharge was in sync with Rahul's pro-poor approach and helped him by removing stumbling blocs within the party by providing him a free passage.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 18:34 IST
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 18:34 IST

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New Delhi: Their background and tastes are different but Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, separated by at least a generation in age and experience, have one thing in common -- of being a relentless fighter for the causes they believe in.

Congress president Kharge and Rahul worked in tandem for the past almost two years since the former assumed office to set an agenda for the party, which the latter had failed so far. If Rahul ran into old guard in the party for years to implement his own ideas, he found an understanding comrade in Kharge who shared the ideas his younger colleague had.

Hailed by Congress cadres as 'Solillada Saradara', a leader who has faced no defeat, Kharge was in sync with Rahul's pro-poor approach and helped him by removing stumbling blocs within the party by providing him a free passage.

Rahul, on the other hand, designed a revival path for the Congress through two yatras across India -- the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra -- setting the agenda for the party as well as for the Lok Sabha elections. Rahul insisted on ideological commitment, which Kharge practiced throughout his life.

As Rahul's pitch for the election found resonance on the ground, Congress leaders slowly picked up threads and built a campaign around social justice. A Dalit who converted to Buddhism, Kharge understood the import of the new approach heralded by Rahul.

During the course of the campaign, Rahul admitted that his party “also committed mistakes” but insisted that he was willing to change the course. He made it clear that the party is going to stand with 90% of the people, who falls under the under-privileged category, and that it want to reclaim its "pro-poor" credentials.

With this message, Kharge and Rahul criss-crossed the country talking about how the Modi government was trying to "subvert" Constitution.

By bringing the Constitution to the fore, a symbol which the Dalits hold to their hearts due to BR Ambedkar’s association with it, sources said the Congress has managed to penetrate into Ambedkarite Dalits. Amid fear of tweaking the quota regime, sources said Congress’ commitment to retain the values of the Constitution will strike a chord with the backward, Dalits and tribals.

Along with the narrative around the Constitution, Rahul and Kharge went ahead with promoting the ‘nyay’ agenda. Both refused to get distracted by the Modi rhetoric though they gave sharp responses to the BJP campaign.Rahul went to challenge Modi for a debate following an invite from three “eminent personalities”, which did not elicit a response. Rahul also sought to turn the tables on Modi over his ‘not biological’ remarks saying God has told him not to help the poor but only Adani.

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Published 04 June 2024, 18:34 IST

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