BJP’s caricature of Rahul not working any more: Tharoor

The BJP had “very successfully caricatured” Rahul Gandhi but the tactic is no longer working because the people now see the Congress vice president as an effective opponent to the ruling party, former minister Shashi Tharoor has said.

“The BJP had very successfully caricatured Rahul Gandhi in the past. That is no longer working because Rahul Gandhi is seen as a rather effective opponent to the BJP...As this changed narrative proceeds, you are going to find more and more momentum behind the Congress,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP asserted. Tharoor said a change was visible with the Congress’ recent victory in the by-election in Gurdaspur in Punjab and of its ally in Vengara in Kerala, and claimed the BJP’s attempts to conduct yatras in places such as Kerala and Gujarat had “fallen flat”. “I also feel very strongly that the people are beginning to ask when is the government going to keep the promises it has made...We are already riding much higher in people’s estimation than we were in the April or May of 2014, of that there is no doubt,” the 61-year-old leader said.

His comments assume significance as Gandhi is expected to take over the reins of the Congress party soon. Last month, while addressing students at the University of California in the US, the Congress vice president had said the impression that he was a reluctant politician was a result of a campaign against him by the BJP.

Tharoor said when Gandhi takes over, there will be “fresh energy” injected into the party. Noting that there was still time for the general election, Tharoor said Congress’ credibility was on the rise. “I would say that the narrative has changed very, very clearly. People are now openly expressing doubts and misgivings about how the BJP government and Mr Modi are performing,” he said.