Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not take off on holidays even to nearby Surajkund or to not too far but invigorating environs of Manali. But the Prime Ministerial aspirant Rahul Gandhi loves to jet off to exotic lands from time to time, and especially to ring out the old and ring in the New Year. And every time, when he returns after a bit longer sojourn, he seems to have incarnated into a new avtaar. When he took off to London this time for Christmas and New Year celebrations, he was a swashbuckling Rahul Gandhi who was sure of being on track to claim his family’s Divine Right to rule India. With his vituperation and vociferous orchestration against India’s Prime Minister he appeared to be a giant killer, ready to slay the little David who had trounced Goliath in 2014.
But, now on his return possibly bubbly-charged and re-energised what Rahul’s avtaar is? He made no assault on Modi, nor he remembered farmers groaning under the ‘callous’ Modi’s demonetisation impact and did not remind us of his alleged personal corruption nor he seemed overly worried about elections in five states.
Possibly, he was full of pleasant memories of revelries in London and was also excited about his imminent a week-long visit to China on the invitation of the Communist Party. The invite to him and not to any other opposition is a sure indicator that Beijing thinks he is the most potent challenger to Modi, his chamchas will drill it in the mind of their boss. However, after facing flak on holidays, Rahul Gandhi cancelled his China visit.
His josh and sense of importance re-incarnate him to the avtaar post- London holiday. Earlier known as a ‘young man’– just 46 — in a hurry he went charging at Modi waving Sahara Diary and now he is adding the charge of ruining the economy and putting the people to extreme sufferings.
Immediately on his return and before flying off to China, he presided over a ‘National Convention to chart out a policy to run down Modi and force him to admit his mistake in banning high denomination notes.
Rahul is one-directional in his onslaught on Modi. Earlier he attacked him using entries in Sahara Diary. And to give Devil his due, one must compliment Rahul Gandhi that despite being on bail for alleged fraud, misappropriation, breach of trust and conspiracy to appropriate Rs 5000 crore assets of National Herald Associated Press Ltd. which carries up to 10 years incarceration, he dared to accuse, India’s Prime Minister Modi of taking Rs 40 crore from Sahara and Rs 12 crore from Aditya Birla.
He has so far survived the old saying that those living in glass houses should not throw stones. Rahul’s glass house, if one goes by the record number of scams during UPA 2 tenure, is already cracked. But as they say children and those with low IQ are seldom aware of the likely backlash of their action. Not surprisingly Rahul is in full gear making accusations against Modi, calling him a lootera, a cheat, who through demonetisation has been helping about 50 wealthy families at the cost of farmers and the poor. “Modiji has performed demonetisation yagna for 50 families and one per cent super rich of the country.” He demanded White Paper to inform how much Black Money has been collected.
In his new incarnation, the de facto chief of the Congress Party is uncharacteristically aggressive and has been hyperactive in trying to unite the opposition to crucify Modi for upsetting the lives of hundreds and thousands by banning the high denomination notes. The long lines of people trying to exchange banned notes or at ATMs hoping to draw money for expenses but after hours of shuffling in the line most would return empty handed. It seemed that the opposition at last had the chance to arouse people against Modi. And Rahul, desperate to be at the central stage of national politics, saw his chance and typically of him, without any planning he launched a blistering attack on Modi, hoping he would be anointed leader of a united opposition’s anti-Modi campaign. He seemed to be succeeding.
When the demonetisation was to be discussed in the Lok Sabha, all opposition leaders said Rahul would be speaking on their behalf. This is when the limited political IQ of our Rahul Bhaiya showed up. He presumed or assumed that being nominated to speak on behalf of the opposition meant he was the chosen one — to take on Modi, the man who destroyed him in 2014. So now the destroyed was elated, he had got the chance to change the roles, he would have his destroyer first bite the dust in UP in early 2017 and then oust him in 2019 and jump on the chair vacated by his arch-rival.
He anointed himself to take on Modi on behalf of a united opposition. To strengthen his credentials as the right person to combat and vanquish a Prime Minister, he went to meet him ostensibly to complain that farmers were suffering and his government was doing nothing about their plight. This attempt to show to the leaders of opposition that he was the right person to combat Modi backfired. And the sandcastle he built he trampled in his haste to become the white Knight to slay the ‘fascist’ ruining the country.
Rahul Gandhi’s aggression against Narendra Modi, and his ‘daring’ to accuse him with taking money from Sahara and Aditya Birla, was based on the presumption that he would have the backing of a united opposition of which he was confident. He had organised several rounds of talks between the party leaders. The fact that they asked him to reply to the government on demonetisation on their behalf too convinced Rahul that the opposition was not only united but they had also chosen him as their representative.
This assumption showed how politically immature he is. Did he expect that leaders like Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar, even Mamata Banerjee would accept his leadership? And this was apparent when the NCP, JD(U), SP, AIADMK and many others, angry with Rahul for meeting Modi, did not join opposition parties’ leaders march to meet the President to complain about difficulties due to demonetisation.
The effort of Rahul to broker a united front of the opposition parties had failed became clearly apparent at a press conference which was to be addressed by opposition leaders, but except Rahul and Didi, from major parties, six lower rank leaders from minor political outfits, no senior leaders turned up. At the conference Didi made it abundantly clear as to who was the boss.
The Left was among the Opposition parties missing on stage, with the CPM later complaining that it was neither informed nor consulted about the joint campaign. The JD(U) had, in any case, broken ranks with the Opposition on the issue of demonetisation, extending the policy its support. As the government’s ambitious and controversial experiment entered its next stage, Opposition’s talk of a common minimum agenda sounded like a difficult proposition. In a sense, this is as it should be. After all, in a diverse and layered democracy, why must the Opposition speak, or be expected to speak, in one voice, always?
“That Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik have extended their support to the government’s demonetisation policy, for instance, while other prominent leaders criticise it roundly only underlines different ideas, interests and compulsions of players operating in and addressing different arenas of a complex polity. Having said that, however, it is also true that over the last few weeks and months, a contrast has been highlighted again and again — while the government has been seizing the initiative, and the headlines, moving from one consequential policy and project to another, with demonetisation following close on the heels of the surgical strikes across the Line of Control, the Opposition has seemed overtaken and reactive” the Indian Express reported.
Another pointer was also relevant, it also lacks a centrepiece that could hold even a loosely defined joint strategy together. As the main Opposition party despite its dwindled numbers in the Lok Sabha, the Congress, which remains convulsed with its own incoherence and uncertainties, has seemed unprepared for the role. And so far, no other party, be it Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) earlier or Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress now, has fully stepped up either.
What this means is that at a time when a robust Opposition is needed in a healthy and argumentative democracy — when the government is taking important decisions that deserve to be fully discussed and vigorously debated, even if not necessarily opposed — the Opposition has seemed unfocused. Whether or not it can find a centre of gravity and get its act together is a question for the New Year.
But early signs do not give much hope. Rahul had, albeit for putting himself in a pole position and emerge as a challenger to Modi by 2019 polls, tried before going to London for New Year’s revelries, to forge a united front of opposition parties to take on NDA, in plain words to try and oust Modi. It does not require any brains to understand that if Modi’ personal image takes a beating it will be the end of the NDA government. But he messed up as related earlier and most major parties and their senior leadership deserted him. Back from his winter sojourn, he seems to be puffed up with self-confidence and of course importance. He appears assured enough to take on Modi, single-handedly. And the ‘weapons’ he has armed himself are, the entries in Sahara Diary and demonetisation.
Flanked by Dr Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi unleashed one of his most stinging attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, saying he has “destroyed the soul of India” in the past two and a half years of his rule.
The man who wants to be prime minister
Rahul is the man who says memorable stuff like “Poverty is a state of mind”. And “India is going to be the 21st century’s Saudi Arabia in terms of human resources”. And “Politics is everywhere… It is in your shirt… your pants… everywhere”. And he is the man who referred in 2015 to BJP as ‘the opposition says no work was done in 60 years.”
Another joke circulating on social media showed Rahul telling his mother that he had evidence that Modi had made huge amounts of underhand money out of the Indian Premier League. Sonia resignedly tells him that those charges were against Lalit Modi, not Narendra Modi.
He is the man who after creating a major ruckus over demonetisation, left the Congress high and dry, with only its spokespersons to make public statements about Modi’s speech. But he really loves his holidays. He vanished for two months, supposedly in South East Asia in 2015, missing part of the Budget session of Parliament. During the Bihar assembly election campaign the same year, he spent time at a conference in Aspen, USA. It annoys hard-working people that he can take a break whenever he feels like, and not reveal where he goes and for how long. It shows some sort of contempt – however unintended – for his partymen and his supporters. But it also wrongfoots his Opposition allies.
Both the Opposition parties and Congressmen know that Rahul is incapable of taking the anti-BJP war anywhere. If there was any doubt about this, he laid it all to rest in the interview he gave to Arnab Goswami, then in Times Now, before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He did not give any straight answer, for instance, talking vaguely about women’s empowerment while replying to questions that had nothing to do with women.
In that interview, and in campaign speech after campaign speech, he blamed a broken-down and corrupt government system for all of India’s woes. This was not a very smart move, given that his own party had ruled the country for nearly 60 years, and had built the system and done nothing to correct it.
At 46 years of age, when most Indians have teenage or adult children, he is still being portrayed as a “youth leader”. The only logic behind this is perhaps that he is still unmarried. Now that’s not country’s problem.
Even after nearly 15 years as a professional politician, Rahul still seems unaware of what people want, and how to connect with them and win their trust. His present sound and fury will only raise his blood pressure. It won’t take him nearer his goal. He has failed to win any election on his own. Swallowing his pride he condescended to hitch his national party with regional parties in Bihar. Yet his chamchas claim he is a national leader. In all respects, Rahul is a liability to, not only the Congress, but the Opposition. In the UP assembly polls, all the Congress can hope for is to make it to double digits.
Here is someone who can be relied upon to say something silly every fortnight (at a conservative estimate, not counting his holidays). Here is someone in whom his partymen have lost faith yet are unable to say so publicly – the result can only be general demoralisation.
Here is someone who constantly chooses the wrong leaders to head assembly campaigns, and is utterly incapable of reading the people’s mood (a recent example is Assam). Here is someone whom the Opposition treats with little respect and would like to get rid of, but cannot because he is always trying to lead anti-government protests.
He has a fixation. He will rush, as they say where even angels fear to tread. He did not hesitate to make common cause with Mamata Didi when
her party MPs were arrested for their alleged involved in the shenanigans
of the Rose Valley Chit Fund. Did he try to find out what was the evidence against them?
Except him no other opposition leader, even Kejriwal who would love to see lightening fall on Modi, did not rush to be with Didi. But Rahul would
possibly align with the Devil if he felt
that he will hurt Modi. Where will such hatred and anger take Rahul to?
2017 will possibly tell!
In his opening remark at a day-long convention, Jan Vedna Sammelan, Gandhi said Modi had turned the hard-earned money of the people of this country into paper through his demonetisation decision. He has broken the financial backbone of this country with demonetisation. This was his personal decision.” His harping on demonetisation when lines at Banks and ATMs have shrunk, and the economy is showing signs of recovery, shows how ill-informed he and his advisers are.
Industrial production growth touched a 13-month high of 5.7 per cent in November despite demonetisation. The impact of the cash crunch, however, got reflected more in retail inflation that hit 3.41 per cent in December, the lowest since November 2014, as food inflation crashed to just 1.37 per cent in December from 2.03 per cent in November.
On the plus side, prices of fruit, vegetables and food grains have been going down, property prices are getting realistic and bribery, black -marketing, corruption and human trafficking have almost stopped. Modi rightly accused that those opposing demonetisation are shielding black-market operators. And more vital is Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement that by February end things will be fully normal and economy will start picking up.
But, gastrulating vigorously, he seemed to have worked himself to such a state of frenzied anger that one doubts whether he half understood the import of the accusations he was hurling at Modi, whether they would be able to stand the scrutiny in the court of the people, whom Rahul wants to take away from Modi. This is why disparagingly he ridiculed all the schemes Modi floated. He took a jibe at the PM’s initiatives of Swacch Bharat, Make in India, Startup India and Skill India and his campaign for yoga. It was a beautiful show but not Padmasana without which there is no yoga.
This was not only factually wrong, but utterly shameless twisting of the reality on the ground. He must know, as he desires to be prime minister that many of Modi schemes like Jan dhan yojana, Mundra Bank have been successful. And toilets in villages under Swacch Bharat scheme have, and are being built and as for Yoga, Modi might not be perfect in aasans, but it is he who convinced the UN to adopt a day in a year to be UN International Yoga Day.
Rahul could get away with his blatant lies inside Talkatora Stadium but if he repeats his charges in areas where benefits of schemes are visible, he may lose whatever credibility he still has.
His other charge that every institution in the country, such as the judiciary, the Reserve Bank of India, the election commission and the media have been ridiculed and weakened, can be contributed to his pique over the denial of power which he has been to believe by his chamchas. “The RBI that is the financial bedrock of the country has been ridiculed. The governor of RBI has been ridiculed…only because the RSS and the BJP think no one’s opinion matters other than their own,” he said.
That the RBI was kept in the loop and a large section of the media is still hostile is obvious to everyone who is politically not biased. And if judiciary had been weakened, many of Rahul’s party leaders would have been in the dock. He showed his Quixotic side when he repeated the charge of Modi being personally corrupt. He took out ostensibly a page from Sahara Diary and counted nine entries in it to pronounce that Modi had taken Rs40 crores from Sahara.
Just five kms away, Supreme Court had for the second time said that no case was made out from loose computer entries and it will not make the mistake it did by ordering investigation Jain Hawala case. Yet Rahul repeated his charge. Does he think he can over-rule the Apex Court?
The Times of India reporter asked to ‘stop muck-raking’ and don’t shoot and scoot. But Rahul Bhaiya when he accelerates to ‘Jupiter’ speed has no time to heed to some sage advise.
His bravado touched the real high, when he asserted that achhe din are going to come when the Congress comes back to power in 2019.
He has seemingly forgotten that he is on bail in a criminal case and is charged with under various sections of the IPC. What happens in that case by 2019, no one knows. Patience in politics is a virtue, it will do good to both his mental and political health, if he slows down in shooting blindly at Modi, he is human, he may make a mistake, why not wait for it!
In fact a majority of Congressmen would celebrate if Rahul quit or is sacked, unlike the BJP. Why would the BJP want him to go? Rahul is the most prominent and recognisable face in national Opposition, and shoots himself in the foot and then puts his foot in his mouth very regularly – in fact, almost every time he says something.
He is doing his best to make India Congress mukt,’ a BJP activists joked. But possibly he hit the nail.Consider this; The Congress disrupted the entire winter session of Parliament, costing the exchequer crores of rupees (one day session costs Rs2 crores). The impression it created was that the Congress had nothing substantial to say against the scheme. But Modi got the opportunity to say, “I am trying to stop corruption. Congress has been stopping Parliament from working.”
When Rahul went and stood in an ATM queue for an hour and withdrew some cash — maximum then allowed was Rs 2000, he again proved he was a big joker in Indian politics. This did not cut much ice with the people in the line or when everyone came to know of his silly gimmick from picture published in dailies. He came to draw Rs 2000 in a car worth may be Rs 50 lakhs. And he might please tell us who informed the press.
In campaign speeches, he blamed a broken-down and corrupt government system for all of India’s woes. This was not a very smart move, given that his own party had ruled the country for nearly 60 years, and had built the system and done nothing to correct it.
At 46 years of age, when most Indians have teenage or adult children, he is still being portrayed as a “youth leader”. The only logic behind this is perhaps that he is still unmarried. Now, that’s not country’s problem.
Even after nearly 15 years as a professional politician, Rahul still seems unaware of what people want, and how to connect with them and win their trust. His present sound and fury will only raise his blood pressure. It won’t take him nearer to his goal. He has failed to win any election on his own. Swallowing his pride he condescended to hitch his national party with regional parties in Bihar. Yet his chamchas claim he is a national leader.
In all respects, Rahul is a liability to, not only the Congress, but also the Opposition. In the UP assembly polls, all the Congress can hope for is to make it to double digits. Here is someone in whom his partymen have lost faith yet are unable to say so publicly – the result can only be general demoralisation.
Here is someone who constantly chooses the wrong leaders to head assembly campaigns, and is utterly incapable of reading the people’s mood (a recent example is Assam). Here is someone whom the Opposition treats with little respect and would like to
get rid of, but cannot because he is always trying to lead anti-government protests.
He has a fixation. He will rush, as they say where even angels fear to tread. He did not hesitate to make common cause with Mamata Didi when her party MPs were arrested for their alleged involved in the shenanigans of the Rose Valley Chit Fund. Did he try to find out what was the evidence against them?
Except him no other opposition leader, even Kejriwal who would love to see lightening fall on Modi, did not rush to be with Didi. But Rahul would possibly align with the Devil if he felt that he will hurt Modi. Where will such hatred and anger take Rahul to?
by Vijay Dutt