Has Congress' angry young man gone too far this time? While launching the party's election campaign in the state on Monday, Rahul Gandhi asked people from Uttar Pradesh to stop migrating and begging in Maharashtra.
Adrenaline rush or plain naivet �? Unless the Congress has had enough of Sharad Pawar and intends to align with one or the other of the Thackerays in the immediate future, this can't be interpreted as a sign of the Congress scion's augmented political acumen. Whatever it was, his detractors are likely to have a field day over this for some time.
Uttar Pradesh, with 402 Assembly and 80 Lok Sabha seats, is, politically, the most crucial state in Indian politics. So some theatrics and braggadocio are expected, and perhaps welcome for a 'studio' audience.
But, Rahul's seemingly imprudent words may lead many to conclude that perhaps the Amethi MP has been spending too much time with his senior party colleague Digvijaya Singh. That's one way to go, of course. But given the Congress' abysmal record in UP in the recent past, it's easy to surmise that the party needs staunch and accomplished leadership in the state.
Nobody can deny Rahul's innate charisma. But that is unlikely to be enough. 'Idol worship' apart, one mustn't forget that under Mayawati, the state has registered 7.28 per cent GDP growth against the target of 6.10 per cent in 11th five-year plan (2007-12).
So, for the Congress to make a significant dent into the SP and BSP's strongholds in UP, Rahul will have to bring more to the table than a 'begging bowl'.