Despite the uproar over the dynastic rule and past emergency excesses, Congress has finally emerged as a new entity under Rahul Gandhi, whose team has added its own panacea to the existing challenge, reminiscent of the 1980s subaltern approach by some historians to study India. Studying in history about what happened among the masses at the base levels of society than among the elite was its unique focus.
Later, economist C.K. Prahlad has proposed the concept of benefitting "the bottom of the pyramid" while designing welfare schemes for the poor at the base level of society, which was neglected as NOT a viable market by economists. Interestingly, the Congress Manifesto is a manifestation of both now.
"With this manifesto, the Congress offers to you the only national alternative: a distinct alternative that is unwavering in its commitment to truth, freedom, dignity, self-respect, and prosperity for our people," says its manifesto.
In fact, the past five years of struggle outside the corridors of power has given the leadership of Congress enough time and exposure to the ground reality to re-invent a unique strategy for survival. The way MNREGA concept providing 150-day guaranteed rural employment helped Congress return to power in 2004, so should NYAY in 2019, provided the message reaches the last voter at the bottom of the pyramid.
With other pro-farmer promises such as Kisan budget, loan waiver, NYAY or minimum income support scheme and protecting the farmer from jail in case of non-payment of the loan -- Congress has emerged undoubtedly as a pro-rural party. The trickle-down effect may take time but, irrespective of the outcome, the Congress has boldly made the first move, keeping the ruling party on defensive to come out with a viable alternative. It has also shown the voter how an age-old party can think contrary to placate the farmer, its traditional voter for decades.
A quick glance shows that the Congress has also promised the repeal of colonial-era "Sedition Law", amendment to AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, introduction of anti-hate law and withdrawal of citizenship amendment bill, 3-year freedom to startups -- all aimed at the so-called "urban Naxals" who play a crucial role in redefining the country's opinion and its future. With a unique fusion of both urban and rural voter interests under its focus, Congress has taken the initiative.
Now, the ball is in the court of BJP.