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Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the principal challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

Armed with 3 wins, it’s Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi in 2019

In retaking the three states of the Hindi heartland from the BJP, exactly a year after he took over the reins of the party – officially – from his mother Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the principal challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

He has even rivalled Mr Modi’s status as the campaigner in chief, with Mr. Gandhi addressing over 82 rallies, crisscrossing five states, in the current round of five state assembly elections.

The journey for the Gandhi scion has not been easy. Under constant attack and ridicule from the BJP, Mr. Gandhi not only withstood the onslaught but also paid back the BJP in its own coin.

Often described in derisive terms as ‘Pappu’ or ‘Clown Prince,’ the Congress chief took the attack to the BJP with his witty repartee on social media during the Gujarat assembly election in December 2017.

Though his party lost, it was the best performance that the Congress put up in Gujarat since 1992. Personal allegations were also made against him and his family from the top leadership of the BJP. But Mr. Gandhi did not go down the personal insult route. Instead, he stuck to issues like jobs, farmer crisis, condition of small business.

He even expelled senior leader Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar from the Congress, for his use of intemperate language against the Prime Minister, and chided senior leader CP Joshi in Rajasthan for using caste-based language in the recent polls.

Mr. Gandhi’s big challenge came when the Congress fell short of a majority in Karnataka but swiftly, aligned with the JD(S) giving the smaller party, the post of the Chief Minister, and retained the key southern state.

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