The new jingle: ‘Only Rahul’

The new pitch in the Congress party’s tone seemed to come out after the realisation that they needed to put forward a brave face in the elections to the Lok Sabha, which may happen as early as October this year.

Brand Rahul for the Congress party

Brand Rahul for the Congress party

There was an ad which played on Doordarshan sometime in the 80s that stuck in the back of your head with its catchy tune. Even today, that jingle runs through your mind sometimes. The TV ads (see one at the end of this story) were also followed by ads in the newspapers. It was really a great campaign and the brand from the Reliance stable stuck forever and made it a household name all over the country.

That campaign was ‘Only Vimal’ and featured many celebrities, including film stars and cricketers.

A similar campaign is now being started, but ‘Vimal’ has been replaced by the “youth” icon of India’s Grand Old Party.

Yes, I am indeed talking about the Congress party’s ‘Only Rahul’ campaign.

Congress party spokespersons are now talking ‘Only Rahul For PM’, a campaign which will be echoed throughout the country to market Brand Rahul in the coming days.

The Congress party vice-president himself has expressed his disinterest for the post, but partymen are falling over one other’s shoulders to say that there is no alternative for Rahul.

The Congress party seems to have realised that they have run out of all issues and the scam-a-day eruptions have hit them really hard where it hurts the most.

What started with Congress party general secretary Digvijay Singh, who is widely acknowledged as the party scion’s mentor, saying that when the party wins the general elections, it was up to Rahul “to take the call”.

But today, he was more categorical, stating, that Rahul never refused the prime ministership.

The 'Only Vimal' ad

The ‘Only Vimal’ ad

Singh said Rahul’s remarks were “misinterpreted” over the issue. “He (Rahul) has never refused it…If the people of this country want it, then why won’t he become (prime Minister),” Singh told a news channel.

But the official spokesman, who has been very consistent with the Rahul-for-PM mantra, Rashid Alvi, went a step forward. “We are confident that only Rahul will become the prime minister,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

“All the workers and leaders of Congress wish from the core of their heart that Rahul Gandhi becomes prime minister of the country,” Alvi said.

“He has, in him, all the qualities required to be the prime minister. Rahul Gandhi has in own way of thinking and is far-sighted. We are confident that whenever he becomes the prime minister, Rahul will be a competent prime minister and will take the country forward,” the Congress spokesperson said.

There is another interesting thing which Digvijay Singh also said that points out to the ‘Only Rahul’ campaign. Singh said that the experiment of having “two power centres” was a failure. “Personally, I feel that this model hasn’t worked very well. Because, I personally feel that there should not be two power centres and I think whoever is the Prime Minister must have the authority to function although Sonia Gandhi has really never interfered in the functioning of the government,” Singh told the news channel.

The new pitch in the Congress party’s tone seemed to come out after the realisation that they needed to put forward a brave face in the elections to the Lok Sabha, which may happen as early as October this year.

The Congress party wants to seemingly cash in on the Karnataka assembly elections, where which observers and surveys have projected the party as taking over the reigns of the southern state once again after a long time.

This would be a great morale booster for the Congress. A general election in October 2013 also suits the party because after that there are elections to the Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assemblies; and these are states where lies the real danger for the party.

Right now, the only real dampener, if not outright danger, to the Congress party in Karnataka is the rampant infighting among its local leadership and the confusion over its chief ministerial candidates, of whom there are many.

However, reports emerging from New Delhi suggest that Rahul has himself taken over charge of the party’s Karnataka unit along with help from seniors like Defence Minister A K Antony and is finalising the list of candidates.

Like every party projected as a winner, there are scores of contenders for the party ticket from almost every assembly seat where the Congress party is shown as emerging stronger.

The strategy is that when Rahul himself is finalising the list, the chances of dejected party workers contesting as rebels would be less.

Once this is done, Rahul will jump head-long into the campaign.

A win for the Congress party will be projected as Rahul’s personal triumph. While party president Sonia Gandhi would also be mentioned in almost equal breath, the entire credit for the party’s victory would be given to her son.

For Rahul personally, it will provide him much relief after his campaigns in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, high on rhetoric, were undisputed disasters.

This is why the Congress is positioning him as a TINA factor: There Is No Alternative to Rahul as India’s prime minister after Manmohan Singh.

Only time will tell whether the ‘Only Rahul’ factor would work to the party’s advantage or not.

An ‘Only Vimal’ video:


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