Rahul Gandhi using family name to connect with rural voters?

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 24, 2013 05:17 hrs

New Delhi: It's finally got the BJP’s attention. Congress scion and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s frequent invoking of his “Ma”, “Papa” and “Daadi” i.e. Sonia Gandhi, the late Rajiv Gandhi and the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in political rallies has riled the Opposition BJP. Gandhi did today made frequent references to them in his two rallies in poll-bound Rajasthan.
A vexed senior BJP leader Ravishanker Prasad said in the capital today, “It is very unfortunate that Rahul has spoken about the assassination of his grandmother and illness of his mother during electioneering and made an emotional appeal to the people to vote for Congress.” Prasad who is also the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha added, “It's very mean on the part of the Congress Vice-President to harp on the sacrifices made by his family about which the country already knows.”

Gandhi infact today started off his speech in remote Churu district in Rajasthan which experiences extremes of “temperature”, addressing the rural voters saying that his mother (Sonia Gandhi) had ticked him off and asked him not to speak about her in his speeches and instead speak about himself.   
In Shahdol (Madhya Pradesh) last week addressing the largely tribal audience, Gandhi had evoked his “mother’s suddenly taking ill in Parliament and her anguish at not being able to vote for the Food bill”. Today he said, he had decided to therefore speak about his “personal experiences.”
Gandhi’s aim it appears is two fold: to strike a direct connect with his audience, mainly in rural and remote areas, who have in the past been strong votaries of “Indira Amma” and evoke the “sacrifice” that his family has made for the nation. Gandhi it may be recalled has time and again exhorted his partymen in tribal populated states top “get back our original support base.”  

At the same time Gandhi uses the “family” trope to sell a larger message of the secular Congress and its ideals of sacrifice vis a vis the BJP’s brand of communal politics.   He today, harped incessantly on the dangers of communal brand of politics in between his stories about his family and their sacrifice.  
Expectedly whenever Gandhi touches this “emotional chord” he is severely panned by the Twitterati and the social media, but that has definitely not deterred Gandhi from making references to his family.
Since his first speech at Jaipur when he was anointed party Vice President in January this year, where Gandhi generally known to be quite reserved surprised his audience and everyone at large by talking of his grandmother’s assassination and the sense of “deep betrayal” at his “friends” Satwant  Singh and Beant Singh the security personnel who gunned down his grandmother, Gandhi has been referring to it repeatedly in successive speeches.
Infact this “outspoken” avatar of Gandhi’s of late has raised quite a few eyebrows. He brazenly stormed into an ongoing press conference last month and trashed the UPA’s ordinance on tainted netas as “nonsense.” To assuage the storm that was raised by his comments against his own government he again used his “mother” reference subsequently, “My mother told me that the words I used were wrong,” said Gandhi recently, when explaining his outburst about the tainted netas Ordinance as ‘nonsense.’
While critics dub his frequent “mother” references as “political immaturity” citing the likes of Akhilesh Yadav of the Samjawadi Party who has been politically savvy in referring to his family lineage and refers to his father simply as “Netaji”- only poll results will determine whether his gamble has paid off.

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