Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Musing, Missing Or Meditating

Updated: March 14, 2015 9:45 am

The missing Rahul Gandhi is a far better story for TV Channels’ TRPs, than one who occasionally comes out of nowhere to make some statement—earth-shaking he believes—but in fact, every time he opens his mouth, he proves how low is his IQ about Indian politics and the psyche of the voter. On his way to ‘finis’ the party, he is taking care to bring to an ignominious end his family dynasty. Believe it his own party men are waiting, praying, for that day to come soon when they will not have to fawn over the pseudo royalty. His sudden missing act, at a time when the Land Acquisition Bill, said to be his pet issue, was to be introduced, apart from the fact that the Budget Session was to start, bespeaks of his political understanding or put it more bluntly how much he loathes any serious responsibility and hard work.

It also shows how much he is bothered about his party and the Indian polity. And to top it all, his choice of Bangkok is another display of his having less, or almost, no grey matter. It is a city known for its recreational attractions, massage parlours and pretty women waiting for rich customers.

A young bachelor with no dearth of money can be tempted, especially because anonymity is guaranteed. It’s not like London or New York where, paparazzi seem to be omnipresent.

Sometimes one feels sorry for the beleaguered Rahul Gandhi. He is a hapless not so young man on whom leadership was thrust upon, in the hope that with his bloodline he would be able to emerge as the tallest leader in the country. But it turned out that although he became a leader but showed no leadership ability. Wherever he spoke during election campaigning, he managed to lose a few thousands votes for his party candidate.

The joke was that if a rival to the Congress candidate wishes to assure his victory, he should send Rahul a first class return ticket to campaign for his party candidate. He will surely lose, maybe lose his security deposit. In fact, there are surfeits of jokes about him, which can be termed rather demeaning if not downright insulting. More on a serious note, he has for once shown some self-respect and fled after helping his party score a duck in the Delhi Assembly election. He is said to have gone for chintan which is not possible without some other people—names suggested Abhishek Singhvi, Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt. So the dejected Prince has possibly gone for introspection. The army of his detractors in the party however smirk and huh, huh when introspection is mentioned. “When will he have the time to introspect?” They believe he has chosen Bangkok to “rest” and get over his own shame at not been able to win a single seat.

Now that he has self-taken leave for a few weeks to, his party spokesperson informed, introspect and analyse why his party has been rolling down, and moving fast towards a precipice. He should, instead, introspect about his own leadership and oratory and the ability to establish rapport with audiences and win them over. A political analyst with the Congress party Pawan Khera has complained that Rahul Gandhi’s decision to go on a sabbatical to introspect was interpreted as his lack of interest in politics. “Observers who not so long ago gleefully used the so-called Jayanthi bombshell to blame him for ‘interfering’ in the functioning of the UPA government are now labelling him as a reluctant politician. It is the tragedy of our times that we are so used to leaders who are desperate to come to power that if someone does not show that desperation, he or she is dismissed as disinterested in politics.” He continued with his profound analysis. “Apart from desiring and acquiring power, there is also something called deserving power. If someone chooses to ignore the hackneyed trajectory of his bloodline, and attempts instead to deserve his place, there is certainly much more in him than just the bloodline.”

What a wonderful defence of the Congress’s Prince of Wales. Does it mean that he has not gone on a sabbatical for analysing the continuous electoral thrashing, which with each successive election has been more painful, ending with zero seats in the recent Delhi Assembly election? The maximum concession one can give is that Rahul has finally realised that he is a disaster. The post-defeat chinta-chintan culture does little to either diagnose the problem or prescribe the cure, as sycophancy and survival become the underlying instincts of doctors, compounders and quacks of a political party. It is time now for some difficult but fundamental questions which needs to be answered. The Congress party is going through the worst electoral reversals. A transition, not just from the old to the young, but a transition of ideas is underway at several levels in every political party. Narendra Modi found the transition easy by creating a dysfunctional Marg Darshak Mandal (panel of advisors) and relegating an entire generation of senior leadership to it. It helped that he won the elections and has a big brother in the RSS to tame voices of dissent.

The Congress has a different dilemma. Rahul Gandhi is being seen as the next president of a party whose systems he has been struggling to set right. A defeat of this magnitude is bound to evoke existential angst. Where are we going wrong? Our two Gandhis have lost the power to get their members elected—which is the only reason for a Congressman to be loyal. Pockets of rebels have sprung up but the dissent could become a full revolt. That is when the Gandhis would have to be very wary.

Meanwhile having lost the moral right to rule, they have to either develop a thick skin while preparing a safe escape route.

How low they have fallen in esteem is symbolised by the title of a Times of India (TOI) header and a quote of Kylie Minogue. The TOI article, entitled “Extend your Leave—if Rahul Gandhi introspects seriously he see his own irrelevance”, states that he ought to see his own and his mother’s hand behind his party’s misfortunes. Can there be any worse indictment of the mother and son. Now the quote: “I have had a holiday, and I’d like to take it up professionally.” Believe it this is what Congressmen hope from Rahul Bhaiya sojourning in the city which has maximum number of visitors looking for pleasure.

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