If fortune favours the brave and misery loves company, misery needs to heave a permanent sigh of relief. It has crown-prince-forever-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi for constant company.
In a recent podcast with a friend over the grave subject of the bizarre rigadoon that Rahul Gandhi performed live in Parliament, striding across the aisle and hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then returning to his seat and attempting a Priya Varrier at a colleague, the said friend made a remark about the never-ending attempts of Project Reinvent Rahul. It slipped my mind in the podcast but the said project can best be characterised by the following proverb: If Plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.
Another measure of how stupendously the hug backfired is the video of Union Minister Harsimrak Kaur Badal who openly expressed suspicion whether Rahul Gandhi must have attended Parliament after consuming some intoxicant.
Of course, the willing scullions of the Congress in the media lost no time in projecting the indecorous act and Rahul Gandhi himself as an act of love, piety and compassion. The worst offender is the Kolkata Congress pamphlet, The Telegraph.
Check out its front page headline.
In the nearly fifteen long years of his political career as a Parliamentarian, Rahul Gandhi has demonstrated a singular competence with repeated and outstanding success: his ability to fail on a spectacular scale. The higher the stakes, the more spectacular his failure.
The string of nearly thirty electoral losses under his direct watch in the last four years is precisely the motivation that fuels Rahul Gandhi to beat his earlier records. Not that he needs help to fail but there’s a gnawing doubt that there seems to a deeper plot brewing within the Congress party.
Allow me to indulge in a bit of conspiracy theory.
It is my considered suspicion that there’s indeed a faction within the Congress party that wants the dynasty to go extinct. I know that sounds paradoxical given the fact that the “dynasty” is the “glue” that still binds together whatever is left of this party.
But let’s look at this from a different perspective.
After the Congress party’s Nuclear Summer of 2014, the well-known story is one almost, of sequential drubbings in every election it contested. Oh, and the Congress lost Karnataka. With these unending defeats, the political careers of hundreds of its leaders at various levels were extinguished whereas other leaders migrated to other parties while yet others are facing an existential crisis.
Consider the kind of leaders-cum-heavyweights that the Congress party today boasts of, and some of who also double up as Rahul Gandhi’s advisors. Here are some names from the recently-reconstituted CWC of the “Rahul Gandhi era,” according to another semi-Congress pamphlet: AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma, Manmohan Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Oomen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi, Siddharamaiah and Harish Rawat.
With minuscule exceptions, almost all are losers. Purely in the electoral sense of course. Constraints of space prohibit me from delving deeper into the track records of each of these leaders. Suffice to say that they’re all geriatric dynasts still wistfully longing for the nostalgic Indira and Rajiv eras where information could be so successfully curtailed and voters so skilfully conned. Indeed, there’s something deeply corrosive about the collective souls of the Congress party that makes grandfathers kowtow before a permanent adolescent. No less than a former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh whose official diktat on corruption was infamously, publicly shredded.
And of the “younger” lot, we have the likes of Gaurav Gogoi, Randeep Surjewala, and Jyotiraditya Scindia — the same Scindia who nonchalantly flung away the sacred prasad he had taken after a Puja. Of these, two are dynasts. The other dynast, Sachin Pilot is strangely missing. And more curiously, “Why-I-am-a-Hindu” Shashi Tharoor has ostensibly been excluded. As are the former “Rajguru” Digvijaya Singh and his compatriot in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath. Also missing is the high-profile lawyer and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal.
In other words, you shuffle and reshuffle and do a periodic musical-chair variety of leadership and still wonder why you get roundly beaten every single time. If your sambar repeatedly tastes odious, you need to logically think if you’re: (i) using an ingredient that doesn’t belong or (ii) getting the proportions horribly wrong.
The latest instance: the self-bomb called the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi-led Government. While it was the Telugu Desam Party that initiated it, it was Rahul Gandhi who emerged as the ultimate and the most visible losing face of the entire fiasco. It appears that by using the ruse of the so-called “Mahaghatbandhan,” Chandrababu Naidu played Rahul Gandhi like a fiddle. We seriously wonder how Rahul Gandhi even approved a script that made him mouth meaningless homilies like “ruling the nation by love and compassion.” The last time a certain Mahatma from his party attempted that, India was chopped into two pieces. And this Rahul shares that surname.
But what’s shocking is not how Rahul Gandhi conducted himself in the episode. The focus should ideally be on the quality of his seneschals who even gave him the green signal to indulge in such grand self-bombing. It’s as if they deliberately set him up for failure every single time.
The latest: declaring him as the Congress party’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2019 elections.
On a more serious note, the best minds are undeniably with the BJP today while all that the Congress party has is a bunch of sloganeers on pension who continue to live in a time warp comprising a defeatist cocktail of denial, entitlement, and arrogance. In that order.
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