OPINION
Rahul Gandhi’s big favour to Congress but do the Congressis realise it?
- VIPIN PUBBY
Rahul Gandhi’s big favour to Congress but do the Congressis realise it?



The Grand Old Party of India, the Congress, is battling one of its worst crisis. The humiliating defeat of the party at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi in the recent Lok Sabha elections has further demoralised the party.

The singular good fallout of the defeat is the resignation of Rahul Gandhi as the president of the party. That’s the only good step he has taken in the recent past and has so far remained adamant on not taking it back. It is also good that he had taken the blame on himself for the defeat.
 
While several other factors had led to the victory of BJP, the singular factor that went against the Congress was its president as he proved no match to Modi. There was simply no credible alternative.

Indeed it has been over 15 years that Rahul Gandhi has been in active politics but he has refused to learn or grow. This is despite the best of talent available to him for guidance and direction. Evidently he did not even had the intelligence to chose better and saner ones. He allowed to be guided by people whose capabilities were questionable. Over the years his ability to deliver speech may have improved slightly but the content remains as poor as ever.
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By resigning from the post of party president Rahul Gandhi may have given the best gift to the party. Now it appears to be the time for other leaders, including the veterans, to make a mess of it.
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Several of his actions and steps in the past have been, to say the least, immature. One stark image that stands out is his dramatically cutting into a press conference and tearing up copies of a Bill passed by the party’s own government led by Manmohan Singh. Besides the point that the Bill was passed by the government run by his own party, public humiliation of a venerated leader like Manmohan Singh could be the handiwork of only a highly immature person. He could have taken up privately with the prime minister if he was so worked up by the provisions of the Bill. Watch video:


Now coming to the recent Lok Sabha elections. Whoever told him to run the campaign "chowkidar chor hai” against Modi could have given the most stupid advise. The problem is that he took the advise and tried to make it an election issue.

Whatever differences one may have with Modi and the BJP or the government, very few would point a finger at his personal integrity. The only accusation that Rahul Gandhi was able to point at was the Rafale deal. There may be some nepotism or favouritism in the deal but no one has been able to pinpoint any exchange of money like in the case of Augusta Westland.

Personal financial integrity and the fact that none of the ministers in the Modi Government was accused of any corruption were among the strongest factors in favour of Modi led BJP in the recent elections and Rahul chose to hit them on it rather than their weakest points - that of inflation and rising unemployment. These may have ensured more public support than a personalised attack on Modi. The slogan "chowkidar chor hai” failed to convince people that Modi or his government was personally corrupt. 

More so, the slogan was ironically coming from a party which has faced the maximum charges of corruption including in the Bofors case, Augusta Westland, 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and several other scandals.

Even Rahul Gandhi himself did not appear to be convinced by the slogan as he appeared to deliver the much rehearsed, albeit over-acted, slogan at all his rallies. Neither several other party leaders appeared to be convinced. That may have led to Rahul’s charge in his resignation letter that he did not find support for it even from other senior leaders. In fact that lack of support should have given him the clue that he was barking up the wrong tree.

By resigning from the post of party president he may have given the best gift to the party. Now it appears to be the time for other leaders, including the veterans, to make a mess of it. The way some of them have been pleading before him is shameful and shows their bankruptcy. There is no dearth or talent in the party. It only needs to be recognised.

Given the mental framework of the leaders and supporters of the party, it would be really difficult for them to keep the Gandhis away from spotlight in the party, but it would do them immense good if other talented leaders are allowed to take the derailed party back on the tracks.
 

In the meantime they can only hope that Rahul Gandhi gets himself some good advisors who may have the ability to groom him in the long run despite all the constraints and the undue delay.
 

 

 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

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