कतरनें अखबारों की
Priyanka has done to Rahul what BJP did to Advani in 2009
In 2014, the BJP hasn't repeated that mistake. Indeed, its entire campaign has been devoted to creating an aura around Modi and presenting him as the man for all seasons. There may well be a so-called 160 Club that believes in upstaging Modi in a palace coup but so overpowering has been the promotion of Modi that the occasional awkward voice has been drowned out in the euphoria. The BJP campaign slogan is for a "Modi sarkar".
Finally, after the early rounds of a long campaign, the Congress repeated the mistake of the Grand Alliance in 1971 and made opposition to Modi the centrepiece of its campaign. When the campaign began in early-April, the question uppermost in many minds was: can Modi make it? By the final rounds of voting, the Congress had reshaped the issue to: how can we stop Modi? The Congress helped make Modi the only issue of 2014. Those who endorsed him had just one way to vote but those who were opposed to him were confronted with multiple choices, an enviable situation for Modi.
As a campaign theme, Rahul was already fading from the national imagination when his sister Priyanka Vadra entered the campaign in Rae Bareli and Amethi and began hogging air time. A new face who spoke spiritedly and consciously sought to emulate the style of grandmother Indira Gandhi and added a touch of imperiousness, Priyanka certainly boosted the morale of dispirited Congress supporters who were mentally preparing for a debacle. However, in grabbing media space Priyanka successfully overshadowed her brother and even gave Arvind Kejriwal a run for his money. As more and more demoralized Congress supporters started talking about Priyanka as a potential saviour of the Nehru-Gandhi legacy, the more the Congress campaign appeared out of focus and incoherent.
In mounting an energetic campaign for her mother and brother in what has been quaintly called the family pocket borough, Priyanka's intentions were noble. Indeed, family interests were foremost in her mind and all her speeches centred on the theme of Indian politics as seen through the prism of the family. However, in trying to make media exposure a force multiplier, she blanked out all interest in Rahul. Quite unwittingly, she did to her brother what the over-zealous BJP supporters did to Advani in 2009: she exposed her brother's limitations.
Priyanka may well have a future in politics, particularly if she can articulate concerns that resonate beyond the family dining table. Indeed, the Congress may well be tempted in future to use the brothersister duo to safeguard dynastic politics. In this election , however, her efforts may succeed in a corner of Uttar Pradesh but boomerang on the Congress elsewhere . In marketing a product politically, there is no scope for confusion and haziness over what the brand stands for. By now voters know what Modi stands for; there is no clarity over the Gandhis in 2014. In a long campaign, mid-stream improvisations can ruin the larger plot.