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Rahul faces acid test with impending Karnataka Assembly polls

Monday, April 16, 2018 • Tamil Comments

Rahul faces acid test with impending Karnataka Assembly polls

From every possible angle, the ensuing Karnataka Assembly polls would be a huge ‘acid test’ for Congress president Rahul Gandhi who badly needs to retain Congress’ hold over Karnataka to send across a simple message to people across the country ahead of next year’s Parliamentary elections: that Rahul has ‘arrived’ and is competent enough to take on the charismatic Narendra Modi during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

This would be a first ‘test of strength’ for Rahul Gandhi, who took over as Congress president from his mother Sonia Gandhi a few months back.  Congress, which ruled at the Centre from 2004-14, is now a pale shadow of its former self as it rules only in Punjab, Meghalaya and Karnataka.  In this backdrop, it is highly imperative that Congress should win the Karnataka Assembly polls as it won’t have its ‘presence’ in South India if it doesn’t manage to retain Karnataka.

It’s a ‘political prestige’ issue for the Congress in Karnataka where its chief-minister Siddaramaiah has of late become the ‘star speaker’ as Rahul is yet to commence his campaigning in the State.  Congress party leaders concede that winning Karnataka Assembly polls would strengthen Rahul’s bid to replace Modi at the Centre as he would be able to muster the non-BJP parties under a common umbrella so as to forge a ‘Rainbow alliance’ (similar to the 2004 scenario) ahead of next year’s general polls.

Win in Karnataka would be a huge psychological thing for the Congress which would then plot to upset the BJP’s apple-cart in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh where Assembly polls are to be held by year-end.  Congress’ good show in Karnataka would also help the ‘uncertain’ non-BJP regional parties to throw their weight behind the Congress instead of aligning with the third front mooted by the chief-ministers of West Bengal and Telengana.