Rahul plays while Manmohan is away?

Dr. Manmohan Singh might never have imagined that the BJP would stand up for him, his self-respect, and his position as PM. Fact is that the saffron party has no choice. The reason is what almost every newspaper and television channel has described as a "bombshell" by Rahul Gandhi. He said:

"Now, I will tell you what is my opinion on the ordinance. It is complete nonsense, it should be torn up and thrown away. It is my personal opinion...If you want to fight corruption in the country whether it is Congress party or BJP, we cannot continue making these small compromises. Because if we make these small compromises, then we compromise everywhere...I am interested in what the Congress party is doing and what our government is doing. That is why what our government has done as far as this ordinance is concerned is wrong."

Rahul Gandhi is saying what they are saying, but they do not like RG and the dynasty, so what do they do? Talk about power centre and other such stuff that they witnessed themselves when Narendra Modi and L.K. Advani did a bit of public sulking.

Apart from the difference in nomenclature — MMS is the PM — Rahul has done a Modi in more ways than one. Bluster, precociousness, and smart calculation. RG is cannier than we think, and good going.

If it is going to be about a poster boy, then the Congress better get their own. The 'cult' factor is not designed for statesmanship, but social media bravado. The Dalits and the poor RG was supping with will not get affected either by the Ordinance or his opposition to it. If we notice, the main theme of the Ordinance has pretty much been ignored. This personality politics is specifically to keep the media happy with one rally for another, one speech for another, one smart bomb for another.

The cabinet had passed the ordinance that would protect convicted MPs. RG is not in the cabinet; he is the vice president of the Congress. As a party member and a senior functionary his objection, albeit late, is permissible. It is not, however, incumbent on the PM or the cabinet to reverse the decision. That Dr. Singh is more than likely to do so is another matter.

Why did RG not send him a letter (he did so later) before walking into the communications in charge Ajay Maken's press conference where he was defending the Ordinance?

Simple. The PM will not be the final authority. President Pranab Mukherjee will have to pass it. Not too long ago, the president was the finance minister and he was eased out of his post. Is it possible that the real deal is this?

BJP's Meenakhshi Lekhi did imply so:

"It's a political stunt, the timing is questionable. The President was probably returning the ordinance, so someone had to take the credit, and it was him."

For a Modi groupie, she is certainly acquainted with political stunts. However, this is not a school report. And if what she says is the case, then why is the BJP concerned about the PM and not the president? Why is the BJP so insecure that it starts worrying about who gets the credit, when they have been shouting all this time that whatever the PM does is not on his own?

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman got in the "what nonsense" mood when she reacted:

"What audacity! What the hell! What was Rahul Gandhi all this while? Is he trying to send the message that the Family can do no wrong and it all the prime minister's fault? What about the honour of the prime minister whose cabinet cleared the ordinance? Manmohan Singh is not the prime minister for the family. He is the prime minister of the country and he cannot be insulted, especially when he is not even in the country."

This is so jejune. His words are absolutely clear. Had he not said what he did, they would suggest that he is the architect of this Ordinance. Now it comes to the 'family can do no wrong' criticism. He is speaking as a Congressman, in his personal capacity. The decision was not the PM's alone. The BJP and other parties have their share of goons protected as MPs, so is their public objection not double-speak too?

Do not worry about Manmohan Singh. For all we know, he was already in the loop about the "bombshell". He has in fact been spared from taking an obsequious stand, and this gave space to RG to assert himself without attempting to be politically correct or waiting for an elder. He did not mention Sonia Gandhi, he did not mention his legacy.

Sure, RG is playing to the gallery. He is doing a public rolling up of sleeves. He may or may not be the Congress Party's prime ministerial candidate, but he is ready for battle. And that is bothering the Opposition. They now don't have to deal only with a silent PM with a very long and impressive CV, but someone who will speak their language if push comes to shove.

Rahul Gandhi has spoofed the BJP's grand standing about being a party that believes in democracy every time there is a difference of opinion.

© Farzana Versey


  1. FV,

    I sincerely do not think you believe in what you have written here. It seems to emerge more out of your hatred of BJP than a love of Congress.

    However, if you are propping it up merely as a counterpoint, then it should surely be discussed.

  2. Farzana,
    Where do we start ?
    I guess, F & F comment is a good starting point.
    How do you define impasse ? Mr. Modi within BJP appears to be a good metaphor.
    But then that is about BJP.
    Our own political problems start precisely at this point. Reducing the whole political debate to one between Rahul and Mr. Modi.
    Is this it ? Is this about it ?
    Is this about it - with Congress playing the chess game of pinning the whole BJP strategy around Mr. Modi and then pulling out skeletons out Mr Modi's closet to check-mate him ?
    Now c'mon. The paper tearing Mr. Rahul should know better. Rural poverty is the first issue being skirted.
    Oh wait, did ya say Poverty ? Now pal - dint we know Poverty will just about vanish when the guvment give us everything for development.
    And ya know pal - those lazies. They best deserve the RSS Sevashrams. Bloody lefties.

  3. F&F:

    I shall take it as a backhanded compliment that I do not come across as a 'Congi' only because I critique Modi and the BJP. 

    That said, I do not write anything only to get back at a party or an individual; there is enough material to debunk those myths on their own demerits. What might appear to be a counterpoint is also a point. And it ought to be discussed, here or anywhere. 

    You must have read the PM's statement, and he mentioned internal democracy. And he has no plans to resign, debunking the whole Rahul Gandhi is pushing for leadership arguments by our big pundits. 

  4. Bystander:

    I like your internal monologue style! 

    To the topic, I do not think the debate is RG vs. Modi at all. I used the comparison here only because it does look like a fine parody to me. 

    The problem really is the BJP putting all its eggs in the Modi basket; it just makes it easier for the Congress. Why should they not checkmate him when he is their pawn? 

    Poverty was not the issue addressed by RG or in this post, although poverty comes in handy to garner votes. If you notice, the development module in Gujarat too is not about poverty at all. 

    I don't know what the connection is between the "lazies" and the RSS, but since the RSS does not contest elections, I suppose the lazing will have a good run. 

  5. Dear Farzana "Sister",
    I seriously don't know how I would address your otherwise.
    Your parsing of my post left me amazed. Almost to the point I would think of ourselves as "mele me bichhade huwe bhai behan" types.
    Tottal Bollywood ishtyle. Ya know.
    I guess this this is the thing between us "sickulars".
    Now for the "brick-bats" - a la Rajnikant ishtyle from "Andha Kanoon" (Not that you are Hema Malini and me a Robotic Rajni - but sochne me kisi kaa kya jaata hai!!!).
    Please look again. My point is not about your blog posting. It is the way 2014 elections are being played out in media. Are you seriously denying that the whole gamut of "real issues" (the rural poverty included) are not being downplayed ? Much so , when they are becoming subservient to Modi vs. Rahul Game ?

  6. Bystander:

    Except for the 'golden era' of "garibi hatao" that came to be sniggered at (rightly) as "gareeb hatao" during Indira Gandhi's time, alleviating poverty works as promise. It has never been made a major election plank by any political party. Give a few sarees, some rations, and disappear.

    It has always been about personalities. Sure, 2014 is more about cults, and it is dangerous because these cults are propped up on straw pillars.

    PS: Glad you are a Bollywood type. You can safely say "Mere paas Ma hai"...


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