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Posted at: Mar 12, 2018, 12:47 AM; last updated: Mar 12, 2018, 1:48 AM (IST)

Sonia joins the fray

Making 2019 a battle of ideas
Sonia joins the fray
Sonia Gandhi is no stranger to the mysterious roller-coaster dynamics of electoral politics, having witnessed both the lows of political marginalisation and the high of determining the country’s destiny for a decade. Her rare outing on Friday needs to become a regular feature, for the former UPA Chairperson has managed to inject the right dose of ideological perspective that defines the fault line between the Congress and the BJP. Former BJP ideologue Arun Shourie’s famous remark that the BJP is nothing but UPA plus cow was meant to disparage the Modi dispensation. But it also showed a mirror to the Congress which has been lurching from one state polls to the other on the fond hope that sustained hostility and antagonism to the Central government would meet the requirements for a turn in its political fortunes.

Sonia Gandhi’s plate has all the ingredients that would not only help Congress cadre withstand the furious fusillade expected from the BJP in the 2019 general election but could also form the template for choosing steadfast allies. As she put it, the contest will be over the `Idea of India’ and the substance and style of the present government: should India strive to be a noble, liberal democracy, fueled by political competition but with due regard to constitutional norms that permit dissent, protest, dialogue and compromise? Or should it make peace with the culture of fear and intimidation, innuendo and invective, vigilante mobs, and the mocking of scientific temper?

Sonia Gandhi’s observations made it clear that she is aware that surmounting the challenge of 2019 is far tougher than her successful dethroning of NDA-I in 2004. The new Congress president in Rahul Gandhi is still struggling to hammer out a working equation between tried and tested warhorses and the fresh vitality and ideas of the youth. The Congress is not just a much diminished political entity, reduced to ruling just four states. Regional parties remain averse to a tie-up and the Congress is still to evolve a bouquet of big ideas that may electrify  the masses. Sonia has laid the foundation for a concerted attempt to deconstruct the BJP’s achhe din jumla.  

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