New Delhi: In a subtle yet stark makeover for Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has released a new series of videos around the theme Bande Mein Hai Dum, launching a battle of personalities against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The move marks a change of strategy for the Congress, which has so far preferred to shield its president from such a comparison, and is also reflective of the newfound confidence within the party.
The video shows a series of campaigns by Rahul Gandhi, his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi.
“The idea behind the campaign is that he has the calibre and dum to deliver. He has done it. He has gone through a tough time throughout his life, losing his grandmother and father, facing brickbats thrown at him ever since he entered public life. But he faced them all gracefully and in the last one year has delivered on the promises that he made,” a party insider said.
Another top leader told News18 on the condition of anonymity that the party wanted to “cash in on and send the message that the youth are looking up to him now in this atmosphere of deceit and jumlebazi”.
Apart from the recall value of Bande Mein Hai Dum, Vande Mataram, the video campaign plays on the fact that Gandhi was at the receiving end of jibes and jokes, “but he has now come to be respected because he has exposed Modi and delivered”, the leader said.
Rahul Gandhi, too, has referred to the mockery he faced in the past. “I have been called pappu and all kinds of names. But my work should judge me, not what people say. I have no hatred, no ill-feeling.”
The new Congress messaging is also a counter to the BJP’s hugely popular Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai campaign, which conveys the larger-than-life image of Modi as someone who alone can deliver.
The Congress, however, maintains that the “concept is based on his (Rahul Gandhi’s) story and performance; not made with 56-inches in mind.”
But every clip and the lyrics attempt to counter Modi’s image. The videos show Gandhi mingling with the common people, women, youth and famers in different attires, and that he fights on despite facing failure and ridicule.
Modi, too, has built up the image of being a workaholic who keeps moving on despite personal attacks over his humble background.
The videos, to be released in a series, are also an acknowledgment of the fact that Indian elections are becoming increasingly like the US presidential elections where people want to directly vote for their leader. The Congress can no longer afford to leave the leadership issue in vacuum.