Congress in Doldrums
By Proloy Bagchi
That politicians are mostly despicable, perhaps need not be emphasized. They are aggressive and vicious where their interests are concerned. However, they should maintain decorum within the Assembly’s four walls. Alas, even that is slowly disappearing. Outside when making political speeches they just let themselves go at each other. Certainly, one can describe them as bounders of unspeakable conduct.
Recently, there was a ruckus over a statement made by Rahul Gandhi about Prime Minister Modi. Speaking at a Delhi election rally on the issue of unemployment he averred in disrespectful language, “young people are going to beat up the Prime Minister after six months with sticks and he would not be able to come out of his house.”
In Hindi there are two ways of communicating. One, with senior or elderly person. Two, regular intercourse with friends and family which is or can be shorn of usage of respectful words. Rahul used the latter kind of language which immediately hurt the sensibilities of sensitive people. The hatred for the Prime Minister that he has nursed all these years came out in a torrent.
No wonder there was a ruckus in Parliament the next day. Nobody was convinced by Congressmen and their supporters arguments which could justify this kind of uncivil language. In fact, Congress and BJP MPs almost came to blows. They tried to circumvent and even evade the issue by raking up other issues and disallowing the Health Minister from replying to a question raised by Rahul. But thanks to the commotion created by both sides it led to the Lok Sabha adjourning briefly.
This is not the first time that Rahul has played this kind of a game with Modi. Once in the Parliament a few months back he suddenly got up from his chair walked towards the Treasury Benches and hugged the Prime Minister without any apparent rhyme or reason. Taken by surprise, Modi hugged him back. However, Rahul marred it by winking to his colleagues. Indeed, one did not expect it from his lineage.
Rahul, is the fourth generation of the Nehru family in Indian politics but never has such disrespect to other MPs or Opposition Party members been shown in the past by any of his predecessors. Nehru was respected by all, be it in Government or Opposition.
Recall, during the Chinese debacle he came under tremendous pressure and even offered to resign but Congressmen told him politely that the Party would decide when it was time for him to go. But the time had come for the then Defense Minister Krishna Menon to go.
Significantly, despite this defeat, never was an impolite word uttered by anybody in the Government or Opposition. Certainly, those times were different when people, especially politicians, were more gentle and polite, more civilized.
Alas, Rahul seems to display immaturity many times along-with many of his ilk who generate hatred for the BJP by spewing nasty words and deeds. Not to say, the Hindutva Brigade is any less belligerent. Needless to say there is no love lost between the two Parties and their constituents.
Now that BJP is in power there is a sneaking feeling among Congressmen that the Saffronites are the usurpers. Having ruled for decades, the Congress thinks that it has a rightful claim to India’s throne. Hence, the Party’s First Family is hostile towards its bête noir and Modi and always indulge in nit picking.
Indeed, the Congress’s anger and hatred against the Prime Minister dates back to the time days when Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister. Remember, during campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly Sonia Gandhi him as “maut ke saudagar”.
The ‘secular’ Congress tried its best to nail Modi for the deaths during the Gujarat riots but failed for lack of evidence. He was cleared of all charges by all Courts including the Supreme Court. But the ire and hatred against him lingered on.
Perhaps those were magnified manifold in the 2014 general elections when Modi and BJP romped home. Unfortunately for them, Modi returned to power with a thumping win in 2019 and the Congress was relegated so far back that on both occasions it failed to qualify for being considered as the main Opposition Party for nomination of Leader of the Opposition. Any wonder unpleasant relations between the two Parties continue and frequent undesirable barbs are thrown at each other.
In the recent Delhi State elections though the BJP has been beaten hands down by the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress has been relegated to irrelevance as it was unable to win even a single seat. Clearly Rahul Gandhi’s rants against the BJP and AAP proved to be of no avail for the Congress. Looks like, the Party is heading for self-destruction by persisting to choose its President from the Gandhi family.
Mercifully, Rahul has openly told people that he would not like to don the mantle of the Party President and has repeated this three times. Hopefully, he means it and the Party will go back to looking for a new face which is not from the khandaan but from “the open market” so to say.
Undoubtedly, the Grand Old Party has to realize that the Gandhi dynasty is progressively becoming too huge a weight for, it so much so that because of them, “power” is receding away from it. Even the induction of Priyanka Vadra has not made any tangible difference to its performance at the hustings. —— INFA