Rahul Gandhi's Birthday 2024: Gandhi scion transforms his political image through Bharat Jodo Yatra

16 June,2024 01:51 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Ahead of Rahul Gandhi`s birthday 2024, let us take a look at how the Congress leader broke out from the shackles of the derogatory nickname `Pappu`.

Rahul Gandhi/ Screengrab

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One of the prominent faces of Indian politics, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is finally making a name for himself. Son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, the current chief of Congress' parliamentary committee, the Gandhi scion's political journey was fraught with challenges. One of the most notable is the derogatory nickname "Pappu" which many of his critics use to undermine his capabilities.

Ahead of Rahul Gandhi's birthday 2024, let us take a look at how the Congress leader broke out from the shackles of the derogatory nickname 'Pappu'.

Rahul Gandhi's birthday 2024: Beginning of political career & challenges he faced

Rahul Gandhi entered politics in 2004 and won his first election from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi constituency. His entry was viewed as a continuation of the Gandhi family history, but despite his lineage, Rahul encountered scepticism and criticism from a variety of sources. Critics frequently questioned his leadership ability and political savvy, portraying him as inexperienced and out of touch with everyday reality. This impression was captured in the term "Pappu," which means a naive or clueless individual.

Despite these hurdles, Rahul Gandhi persevered, serving as the Congress Party's Vice President from 2013 and then President from 2017 to 2019. During his term, he worked to revitalise the party by addressing internal concerns and supporting fresh leaders. However, the Congress experienced severe electoral failures, most notably in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, where it was defeated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Rahul Gandhi's birthday 2024: Gandhi scion embarks on Bharat Jodo Yatra

In response to these defeats and to rebrand his political image, Rahul Gandhi embarked on the Bharat Jodo Yatra in 2022. This statewide march aims to bring India's diverse and sometimes fractured social and political landscape together. The Yatra traversed over 3,500 km, visiting numerous states, addressing local issues, and connecting directly with the populace.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra marked a watershed moment for Rahul Gandhi. It enabled him to engage with people from all walks of life. The Yatra was defined by his meetings with farmers, labourers, students, and other members of society.

This extended outreach helped to transform Rahul Gandhi's image from "Pappu" to a more serious and determined politician. The Yatra displayed his willingness to venture outside of his comfort zone and interact with the grassroots. It also allowed him to rebut his adversaries' narrative by projecting a more compassionate and determined demeanour.

Furthermore, the Bharat Jodo Yatra was more than just a political campaign; it was also a movement to promote unity and inclusion. It spoke to many Indians who were disillusioned by the current contentious politics. Through this Yatra, Rahul Gandhi stressed the importance of unity and common progress, which is consistent with the Congress party's core beliefs.

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