Can Rahul Gandhi Save Congress in the 2017 UP Elections?

The UP legislative assembly elections for the 403 Vidhan Sabha seats is slated for the year 2017 and Congress not surprisingly seems to be on its back-foot, especially if the recent opinion poll — “The Mood of UP Survey”  by the monthly magazine Parliamentarian — is anything to go by. [Note: The half-way mark for a simple majority is 203.]

In fact, according to the opinion survey, the ruling Samajwadi Party not only seems to be losing its steam, it may actually end up losing as many as 150 seats, which according to the poll, will be shared almost equally between BJP and BSP, reducing Congress to almost a non-entity. Thus, in all likelihood, the forthcoming UP elections look set to become the battleground for BJP versus BSP.

But what about Congress? Given the fact that the opinion poll is predicting that Congress is all set to lose almost half of its earlier tally of 28 seats, it looks like UP is heading for a hung assembly next year, leaving  Congress with much to worry about.

But can Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice President, become the political saviour for Congress? Can he, in fact, help Congress save its face? Or is Congress – yet again! – staring at an imminent defeat?

Well, Rahul Gandhi is certainly leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to save Congress from its looming defeat. Thus, not surprisingly, he kick-started a month-long criss-cross across the state of Uttar Pradesh, covering as many as 39 districts (covering 233 constituencies).

Analysts, of course, are wondering why Rahul Gandhi is giving into his plan now, given that the UP assembly polls are still a good five months away. Truth be told, Rahul Gandhi actually has a much bigger game plan than just garnering  “junta” support and increasing the total seat strength for Congress. Analysts peg Rahul Gandhi’s move as yet another attempt at a complete makeover for the political leader.

Of course, if memory serves us right…the Congress scion has made several “failed” attempts in the past too, to give himself an image makeover…although each of his attempts failed more spectacularly than his previous one. So, what makes the UP game-plan any different?

Well, if we were to analyse his passionate speeches…the focus of the young leader seems to centre and revolve around the “farmers” (Not surprising either…since his month-long padyatra is actually called ‘Deoria To Dilli Kisaan Mahapadyatra’). In fact, he has only raised three points as part of his grand scheme – 1. Waiver of farmer loans, 2. Reduction of electricity tariff by half, and finally 3) increase in minimum support price (for buying of farmers’ produce).

Of course, as with everything else the political prince does…the junta has been left wondering what the basic premise of Rahul Gandhi’s speeches are? What is the central message he is attempting to convey? Given his penchant for flitting from one agenda to another (displaying an obvious lack of political sense and political conviction), the Congress and its vice president continue to look clueless… and it does not seem like Rahul Gandhi will be able to rescue himself…let alone rescue the entire Congress party.

Yes, for all intents and purposes…It certainly doesn’t look like “Achche Din” for the Congress Party…any time soon!


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