Three cheers for Rahul Gandhi, says triumphant CongressDecember 8th, 2008 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) As the Congress Monday surprised analysts and emerged victorious in three out of five states, senior party leaders hailed Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi for rejuvenating the organisation and swinging young voters in its favour.”Wherever Rahul Gandhi campaigned, he attracted the young generation. He has an appeal among the youth of this country,” Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmad told IANS.
“Within the party, he supports the upcoming young leaders. In these elections his campaign, along with other factors like local issues or individual candidates, has certainly benefited the Congress,” he added.
The party scored a valuable goal ahead of the general elections early next year by retaining power in Delhi and wresting it in Mizoram and Rajasthan — though it could not make much of a headway in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh and gave a close fight to the BJP in Chhattisgarh.
Congress Spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan echoed the sentiments and said: “He definitely has an impact. He brings a new message. He connects to the young generation.”
Campaigning in places ranging from trouble-torn Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir to Maoist-affected Bastar in Chhattisgarh, spending a night in Rajasthan villages and exhorting people in a migrant-dominated trans-Yamuna locality in Delhi to vote for development, the young Congress general secretary and Amethi MP had toiled hard for his party.
In October, Gandhi, 38, spent a night with a tribal Sahariya family in Amroli village of Baran district in Rajasthan. Showing empathy with villagers he lifted soil and gave a helping hand to labourers digging a pond as part of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, a flagship initiative of the Manmohan Singh government.
“India lives in its villages,” Gandhi had said during his stay there.
Veteran party leader Digvijay Singh went a step further and said Gandhi, son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had matured as leader and the party was reaping its benefits.
“He is slowly coming to grips. He is certainly making an impact,” said Singh, a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
Throughout his campaign across the states, Gandhi - who has done his M.Phil in developmental economics from Cambridge University - appealed to citizens to vote in the name of development and vision.
Addressing a public meeting in east Delhi’s Seemapuri area, Gandhi had said: “The BJP’s campaign does not reflect any vision for Delhi or the country’s development.”
Congress leader Manish Tiwari said: “He has worked really hard for the party. This certainly has benefited the party. It shows in the outcome of the election results.”