See More on Facebook

Politics

Can Rahul Gandhi breathe new life into India’s Congress Party?

Once the most ridiculed political leader in India, Rahul Gandhi – the-47-year-old scion of the Gandhi dynasty – is fast becoming a force to contend with.


Written by

Updated: February 1, 2018

Gandhi was elected to lead India’s Congress Party in December, taking the mantle from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who had been its president since 1998. Sonia led the party for the last 19 years, the longest period in the party’s 132-year-old history.

Rahul was made vice-president of the party in 2013, a year before the general elections which saw the party slumping to its worst defeat ever and signaling the return of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a decade.

The Congress lost one stronghold after another post-2014, with Rahul becoming the butt of jokes on social media. Political pundits wrote him off as a lightweight, reluctant politician who didn’t stand a chance in Indian politics.

However, Rahul’s political fortunes are finally beginning to look up. The same political pundits, who dismissed him a couple of years ago, are seeing him in new light. They are seeing him as the man who can stand up to Modi and his political machine.

Thanks to Rahul’s aggressive campaigning in the western state of Gujarat that went to polls a month ago – there was no sweeping win for the BJP, as predicted by the exit polls, or 150 seats, as bragged by its party president Amit Shah.

The reduced margin of victory in Gujarat, where Modi was chief minister three times before he was elected as Prime Minister, was a much needed victory for the Congress Party and seen as a personal victory for Gandhi.

Gandhi’s attributes the victory to his campaign rhetoric. He has spent the previous years poking holes in BJP’s various initiatives including the demonetization plan which slowed the economy and hit employment rates Gandhi also ridiculed Modi’s GST reform, calling it the Gabbar Singh Tax. Gabbar Singh is a famous character from a 1970s Bollywood film and the epitome of villainy.

While it is unlikely that Gandhi will take the states that will hold elections before the 2019 general election, he is certainly a headache the BJP, and most certainly Modi, hadn’t foreseen.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: Lamat R Hasan is an independent journalist based in New Delhi.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

US, China must compromise to reach deal: Chinese official

Both sides must come together in good faith for any progress to be made. Both China and the United States must be willing to compromise if they are to reach a deal when presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump meet at the G-20 Summit this week, a Chinese trade official has said. Vice-Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen said at a news briefing yesterday that trade teams from both sides are in talks. He did not elaborate, but stressed that China negotiates on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. “An agreement reached has to be beneficial for both sides, and meeting each other halfway means both sides must be willing to compromise – not just one side giving way,” said Mr Wang, who is part of China’s negotiating team.


By The Straits Times
June 26, 2019

Politics

The transformation of Gokul Baskota

How Nepal’s communications minister went from being a fierce reporter to a hardline politician against free press. For Gokul Baskota, the last twelve months have been particularly busy. Since taking the helm of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which had been without a leader for several months before his appointment last June, Baskota has eagerly placed himself at the centre of a nonstop media storm, defending every controversial bill the government has tabled or passed—from the Medical Education Bill to the 


By The Kathmandu Post
June 25, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong set for more protest

Hong Kong gears up for more protests over extradition Bill as hundreds gather. Protesters began streaming in towards the Hong Kong government headquarters early Friday (June 21) morning, joining others who had camped there overnight after the administration ignored a deadline the previous day to withdraw a controversial extradition Bill. They have vowed to escalate matters on Friday and cut off access to the roads surrounding the government central offices in Tamar, Admiralty until their list of demands are met. These include a complete withdrawal of the proposed law – plans for which have been indefinitely suspended – for the June 12 protests not to be categorised as a riot, for everyone arrested


By The Straits Times
June 21, 2019

Politics

Xi vows active role in NK security, Korean Peninsula issues

Xi is currently in Pyongyang for a state visit. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday began a two-day state visit to North Korea, fanning speculation about changes in the geopolitical dynamics on the Korean Peninsula, as well as denuclearization talks. Xi touched down in Pyongyang at about 11:40 a.m., beginning his first state visit to the North. He is also the first Chinese leader to make a state visit in 14 years. Although this is Xi’s first visit to Pyongyang as president, he has held four summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un since early last year. Xi was received by Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, at Pyongyang’s Sunan Airpor


By The Korea Herald
June 21, 2019

Politics

OPINION: What Asia’s election season tells us

Elections have wrapped up from Pakistan to the Philippines. In the first half of this year, four Asian giants went to the polls. Up to one billion voters were involved, all within a few weeks of one another. Team Ceritalah was on the ground in Thailand, Philippines, India and Indonesia. In Eluru in April, some two hours northeast of Amravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, we discovered a city pulsating with people. It was also mind-blowingly hot: some 42 degrees with music blaring out of loudspeakers as crowds waited for a candidate’s arrival. By contrast, when Team Ceritalah were in the Thai city of Phitsanulok in February, the mood was subdued and calm. Most people knew who they’d be voting for. Besides, everyone understood that the polls were a farce Back in April and just a handful of days before voting, Team Ceritalah also joined the hordes at Jakarta’s main stadium – Gelora


By The Star
June 19, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong protests rattle Taiwan’s political scene

Hong Kong’s protest has caused significant changes politically in Taiwan. TAIPEI (The China Post) — Han Kuo-yu’s explicit contradiction of Beijing’s “one country, two systems” took everyone by surprise over the latest weekend. This was his most forceful rejection of the political framework aimed at ousting the Beijing-friendly image depicted by his rivals. True to his alleged pro-unification stance – he recently met with the directors of Beijing’s liaison offices in Hong Kong and Macau as well as the Communist Party chief in China, he first said: “I don’t know about the Hong Kong protests. I don’t know, I’m not aware.” The controversial comment not only had a devasting effect on his ratings but also caused some cracks in his well-polished public discourse. He was one step behind President Tsai Ing-wen who deftly declared her support of the anti-extradition protestors. “We


By Asia News Network
June 19, 2019