Rahul Gandhi

From giving the ruling BJP a tough fight in Gujarat in 2017 to taking away three heartland states from the BJP at the end of last year, the Congress is seen to have made a turnaround from the lowest point in its 134-year history - just 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Much of this has to do with the remarkable political coming-of-age of Rahul Gandhi, who, for years, was seen as the reluctant politician and an indifferent public speaker. Given his political heritage - he is a fifth generation Nehru-Gandhi family politician - the spotlight has been on him since he joined politics in 2004.

Rahul Gandhi's bounce-back was noticeable in 2017, with a more aggressive avatar in parliament and on social media. His campaign for the Gujarat election proved that finally, he had some skin in the game. Despite losing, the Congress put up an impressive fight in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state. As he took over the reins of the Congress from mother Sonia Gandhi in the middle of the Gujarat election, it was a statement.

Over the last couple of years, Mr Gandhi has been seen and heard more in national and international forums, has appeared more self-assured and his social media game has been on point. He delivered catchy phrases like "Suit-Boot Ki Sarkar" and "Gabbar Singh Tax (GST)" to rattle the BJP. "Chowkidar Chor Hai", has been a huge hit at his public rallies.

He also used political messaging, visiting temples amid accusations of going "Hindutva lite" to undercut the BJP.

Pursuing his unusual strategy of "love thy opponents", Mr Gandhi gave political watchers their moment of a lifetime by walking across the floor of parliament to surprise PM Modi with a hug. So what if the wink that he gave to his colleagues after returning to his seat was played up by the BJP as proof of his insincerity.

He has offered a stark contrast to the Prime Minister's style of one-on-one interviews. Ridiculed and mocked by rivals - he even acknowledged the unflattering "Pappu" coined for him by critics - Mr Gandhi has regularly met the media and fielded questions. In his addresses at foreign universities and in interactions with party workers, he has been open about his party's failings.

Last month, the Congress chief came up with a manifesto that has generated a buzz for the striking welfare measures and policy proposals including a Basic Minimum Income Scheme for the poorest of the poor. To BJP questions on whether all this is possible, his swift response - "Perhaps not for the BJP". The Congress says it has consulted a huge cross-section of people to decide on the main themes of the manifesto - economists who advised on its do-ability as well as the end-user, the common man.

For the first time, he is contesting from two constituencies - Kerala's Wayanad is his second seat apart from his traditional Amethi, where he has been winning since 2004 but where the BJP sees him losing public support over the years. The BJP has accused him of contesting a second seat as he is nervous in Amethi. Mr Gandhi, however, asserts that it is his outreach to the south.

Critics say Rahul Gandhi is far from the shrewd political operator his grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was - a shortcoming that becomes even more glaring when compared to the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah team. The 2019 polls will test his newfound political confidence to the hilt.

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi
Cong
Amethi
Lost
4,13,394 votes*
Wayanad
Won
7,06,367 votes*
*Provisional
GenderMale
Age48
EducationPost Graduate
ProfessionMember of Parliament
Criminal CasesYes (2)
Liabilities 72 lakh
Movable Assets 5.8 crore
Immovable Assets 10.1 crore
Total Assets 15.9 crore
Income 1.1 crore
*Data source: ADR

Other details

Place of BirthDelhi
Social And Cultural ActivitiesAssociated with Rajiv Gandhi Foundation; Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund; Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust; Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust
Special InterestsPromotion of primary education; issues related to the empowerment of the weaker and other oppressed sections of society; preservation of marine environment; international affairs
Favourite Pastime and RecreationReading and Chess
Sports and ClubsSwimming, Cycling, Running and Aikido
Countries VisitedWidely travelled

Positions Held

2004Elected, to 14th Lok Sabha
2004 - 2006Member, Standing Committee on Home Affairs
2007 - 2009Member, Standing Committee on Human Resource Development
2009Re-elected to 15th Lok Sabha (2nd term)
31 Aug. 2009Member, Standing Committee on Human Resource Development
May, 2014Re-elected to 16th Lok Sabha (3rd term)
1 Sep. 2014 onwardsMember, Standing Committee on External Affairs
*Data source: LS

    Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019

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