BJP had vociferously campaigned for a Congress-mukt Bharat during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when its prime ministerial face Narendra Modi sharpened his attack on the grand old party.
That tone is missing in the 2019 elections, thanks to the setbacks the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party received in assembly elections held after Modi was sworn-in as the prime minister.
Congress-mukt Bharat was almost a project that Modi would espouse in his speeches during the 2014 polls, and even inside Parliament where he claimed that Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi wanted to rid India of the Congress party.
Much to Modi’s disillusionment, the Congress on the other hand put a foot down on the ground hard and this 2019 elections, the party appears on its way back into the political centrestage.
In all these five years, Congress kept working hard so as to snatch three big States – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – from BJP, thereby smashing the latter’s dream of India free of Congress.
In a latest, Modi’s most favourite State – Uttar Pradesh – appears shaky despite his BJP having won 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats from the State and then going on to win the assembly polls too early 2017.
Modi had switched to Uttar Pradesh in a tactical shift, to contest the general elections from Varanasi from where he is repeating his candidature in 2019.
But the Congress move to appoint Priyanka Gandhi as its general secretary in charge of East Uttar Pradesh just ahead of the elections has fired up Indian politics.
Priyanka, who weighs her words before making any utterance, has been carefully touching upon more people in the Hindi heartland where she had earlier taken to campaigning by a boat, thereby raising the stakes for Congress.
During her Ganga Yatra from Prayagraj to Varanasi, Priyanka engaged the cheering voters by organizing Boat pe charcha, in response to Modi’s Chai pe charcha which BJP cadres would show off last elections.
In the process BJP’s aura of invincibility has been challenged, for sure, and as the Congress president Rahul Gandhi goes to Wayanad in Kerala, to represent the party from South India, the Congress-Mukt Bharat slogan hasn’t survived to help BJP stomp back to power.