K V Prasad
Tribune News Service
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 4
There is a tinge of excitement within the Congress after Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra embarked upon the politics of agitation on the streets of Uttar Pradesh, worked up as they were on the issue of the alleged rape and brutality inflicted on a teenager in Hathras.
An attempt of a clandestine operation by the administration in cremating the body of the victim in the dead of the night and subsequent moves added to a sense of deep outrage among people, with many likening the gruesome incident to yet another Nirbhaya.
Rahul and Priyanka jostling with the police triggered energy among party workers in Uttar Pradesh, where the organisation at best remains moribund.
Enduring being mocked by some ruling coalition members for his absence during the truncated monsoon session of Parliament, Rahul stepped back into the political ring, protesting the manner in which events at Hathras unfolded. Images of Rahul and his sister Priyanka in the middle of “dhakka mukki” with the police went viral, leading to critical comments on social media.
Former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy sought to draw parallel with Indira Gandhi’s visit on an elephant to Belchi in Bihar to sympathise with Dalit families after a massacre. That visit revived her political fortunes to bounce back from the humiliating defeat in 1977.
While the BJP and its supporters were swift to remind that there should be no politics on the death, the thin line gets breached when there is an attempt by the Opposition to become the voice of the people on issues that arouse anger, especially when the state comes down with its might.
The Congress seeks to keep the pressure on and have announced a day of ‘Satyagrah’ on October 5 in the state and district headquarters across the country and silent sit-in at Mahatma Gandhi/Ambedkar statutes against the “brutal and arbitrary actions” of the UP Government.
Congress workers would hope that Rahul’s stir does not end up as a “cameo role”, as was described by a former Union Minister from the state, after Rahul rode pillion on a bike to western UP’s Bhatta Parsaul village in solidarity with farmers agitating against acquisition of their land nine years ago.