New Delhi: The victory of Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat seems to be a big morale booster for Congress workers, who gathered here from different parts of the country braving hot and sultry weather, just to listen to their “Gujarat ka sher”.
Workers of the Indian Youth Congress had gathered at the Jantar Mantar to protest against the Centre’s policies, led by its president Amarinder Singh Raja.
First came C P Joshi, the beleaguered Congress leader who rode his party to victory in 2008 Rajasthan Assembly polls but himself lost by one vote. There was little excitement. Raj Babbar followed next and even he failed to enthuse the workers.
But as Ahmed Patel, the reticent Congress heavy-weight who won the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat despite all odds, arrived, the mood was all charged up.
“Aaya, aaya kaun aaya? Gujarat ka sher aaya. (Who has arrived? The lion of Gujarat has arrived),” roared the galvanised IYC workers on Patel’s arrival.
The epithet was usually used for Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. For Congress, which has lost nine states since 2013, the otherwise inconsequential victory in the Rajya Sabha appeared to be more galvanising than a win in Punjab as it was over-shadowed by the BJP’s landslide victory in the Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand and its formation of governments in Goa and Manipur.
“The happiness of victory is visible on your faces. Remember the night of August 8,” Babbar said, referring to the hectic efforts the Congress undertook by rushing to the Election Commission to get votes of its two rebel MLAs invalidated that ensured Patel’s victory.
Now it was Patel’s time to address the crowd at the Jantar Mantar. Not the one known for his speeches, Patel, however, had everyone listening to him with rapt attention, reflecting the importance of the man who “defeated” the Modi-Shah pair.
Patel targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for “misusing” the central agencies. “I am sure we will also win Gujarat. The BJP made it a prestige issue, it is their loss. They promised two crore jobs every year and 50 per cent more profit to farmers than what they spend on their yield. They promised to bring down inflation and corruption. But they failed on every front,” Patel said.
At the Jantar Mantar, it appeared that the victory gave the carde the confidence that even they can taken on the formidable BJP, said Amrish Ranjan Pandey, Youth Congress spokesperson.
“Victory is not just seen as a win alone. It is also seen as how it was achieved. Despite the defections, the luring, the use of central agencies, the party managed to defeat the Modi-Shah pair. This gives a big morale boost.
“This gives us confidence that they are not invincible,” Pandey said, adding that the loss in Bihar Assmebly polls for the BJP was not too old, which shows even that party can be defeated.