Respected CM Mr. Siddaramaiah, and Karnataka Congress leaders,
As Mr. Rahul Gandhi leads the Congress Party to comprehensive defeats in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, we the volunteers of Siddaramaiah4CM, a non-partisan campaign by Indian Liberals, are making this appeal.
Please do not allow Mr. Rahul Gandhi to sabotage Mr. Siddaramaiah led Congress Government in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections.
We believe Mr. Rahul Gandhi sabotaged the Gujarat Congress campaign to win the Congress President selection that concluded with his assuming office on Dec 16, two days before the expected defeat of your party in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
The Gujarat govt of the Bharatiya Janata Party is quite unpopular. The struggle of several members in the Gujarat Council of Ministers including the CM Vijay Rupani to retain their seats, lays bare to the fact that Congress could have done much better in these elections, if Mr. Rahul Gandhi had stayed away.
Mr. Gandhi ran a terrible campaign, making it a personal contest between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hails from Gujarat. As Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pointed out, the pride of the people of Gujarat in seeing their former CM as the Prime Minister of India, was not to be mocked. But Mr. Gandhi did exactly that. By repeatedly portraying himself as the “decent” person, he sought to insinuate to the people of Gujarat that Mr. Modi was indecent.
When reports were coming in that South Gujarat, with pockets of tribal areas, was being closely contested, Mr. Rahul Gandhi portrayed himself as a sacred thread and rudraksh wearing Brahmin. In a state which has seen communal violence, a politician openly and brazenly using religion and caste for seeking votes was condemnable. What message did that send to Muslims, Dalits and Tribals, who have borne the brunt of upper caste hegemony?
When Congress leaders were working tirelessly to win the Gujarat elections, Mr. Rahul Gandhi made 89 different sets of leaders to file nominations for himself in the Congress Party President selection. What was the need to have that selection in the midst of Gujarat elections?
As Mr. Gandhi was busy plotting to smoothly take over the reins of the Congress Party from his ailing mother, Gujarat Congress leaders were being denied the media space.
Only few months ago, Gujarat Congress leaders led by Mr. Ahmed Patel had shown extraordinary resilience to re-elect Mr. Patel to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, in the face of horse-trading by the BJP. Mr. Gandhi allegedly refused to attend a Congress Working Committee meeting called after that very motivating victory of Gujarat Congress leaders. Journalist Barkha Dutt wrote about his sulking here.
Once the Gujarat Congress Leaders were ousted from the limelight, to project this as Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s coronation election, the Congress campaign lost focus on Gujarat. That people wanted to hear about Gujarat issues, was evident from the campaigns of Mr. Hardik Patel, Mr. Jignesh Mevani and Mr. Alpesh Thakor.
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has shown that focusing on state issues, by keeping Mr. Rahul Gandhi largely out of the campaign, can ensure a Congress win. Punjab based journalists also concur with this view.
Hence we urge you, CM Siddaramaiah and other Karnataka Congress leaders, to not allow Mr. Rahul Gandhi to hijack the Karnataka Assembly election in 2018. Let our assembly election be fought on policy issues and by showcasing the good governance delivered by Namma Sarkara.