“Rahul has re-invented himself!” “Has he actually?” a detailed buddy of mine disbelievingly requested me. His query was within the context of the Hathras incident and Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi going there to fulfill the sufferer’s household. A number of others requested moderately sarcastically, “What number of instances he’ll reinvent himself?” None of them are sympathetic to Hindutva or the Sangh Parivar or the ruling regime. They will all be known as liberal, who’ve an ideological leaning in the direction of the Congress, however skepticism was writ giant on their faces. All of them have one query in frequent – will he proceed like this or he’ll once more disappear?
I’ve not seen some other politician below such public scrutiny. And throughout the Nehru-Gandhi Household, no different member has needed to face a lot ridicule and scorn. On this regard, Rahul has not been lucky like his dad and mom and grandparents. Motilal Nehru, when he entered politics, was already a well-known lawyer with inordinate nationwide standing. His lateral entry was applauded instantly. His son Jawaharlal additionally didn’t must wrestle. Very quickly, he was adopted by Mahatma Gandhi and by the mainstream management of the liberty motion. In reality, when the presidentship of the Congress handed on from father to son in 1929, no one known as it dynastic politics. By then, Jawaharlal Nehru was recognised among the many frontline leaders of the motion. Even Bhagat Singh was so enamoured of his magnetism that whereas evaluating Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Bose, he suggested the youth to observe Jawaharlal and never Bose as he discovered him extra revolutionary than Bose.
Indira lived below the shadow of her father for lengthy. Although she grew to become the Congress president within the late 50s, when she grew to become Prime Minister, she was dubbed by opposition stalwart Ram Manohar Lohia as ‘Goongi Gudiya’ (a mute doll). Inside her personal celebration, Morarji Desai and some others used to name her ‘Chhokri’ (chit of a woman) however inside two years, she proved herself and have become the empress of the Congress Occasion and compelled all the massive leaders to both retire from politics or cross over to the opposition camp.
Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi didn’t must show themselves to anybody. Sanjay Gandhi grew to become a parallel energy centre throughout Indira Gandhi’s time and after his loss of life, Indira Gandhi took Rajiv below her wing. Rajiv Gandhi’s transition to the highest job within the nation was the smoothest within the Nehru Household. After his demise, Sonia Gandhi averted being in politics however to save lots of the Congress from disintegration, she needed to take over the reins of the celebration. She did face a small rebel however after that, she has remained the unchallenged chief of the celebration.
Ever since Rahul Gandhi has joined politics, he has been struggling. The aura that has been the hallmark of the Nehru-Gandhi household is lacking in him. However Rahul Gandhi modified the principles and perhaps he’s paying the value for that. Regardless of a easy entry into the celebration, he determined to take the vertical route. He contested elections, grew to become an bizarre MP. Earlier than changing into Congress President, he served as Normal Secretary and Vice President of the celebration. Allow us to not neglect that from 2004 to 2014, there was a Congress-led authorities on the centre and it was not a member of the Nehru-Gandhi household however Dr. Manmohan Singh who was Prime Minister. Even after 2009, when it was anticipated that Rahul would possibly ascend to the highest job, he didn’t. Who is aware of if historical past would have been completely different had he determined to keep away from the roundabout route and change into Prime Minister straight on becoming a member of politics? The workplace of Prime Minister remodeled the general public persona of Dr. Manmohan Singh. Right now, he is among the most revered individuals within the nation and each phrase of his is taken severely. This was the identical Dr. Manmohan Singh who was a low-profile bureaucrat who wasn’t seen even in his personal peer group.
Secondly, Rahul Gandhi determined to steer the celebration within the 2014 parliamentary elections which in my opinion was a strategic mistake. He needed to reply for errors which he had not dedicated or was answerable for; the onus of those ought to have been on the Manmohan authorities. The Congress was in disarray as a result of corruption expenses, the cadre was demoralized. The Anna Motion had put a critical blot on the credibility of the Congress. As a substitute of Dr Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi grew to become the image of no matter was mistaken with the Congress and its authorities. It was a monumental handicap. And he confronted the would possibly of Narendra Modi, groomed utterly by the RSS, supported by unprecedented cash and media energy. Given the extent of negativity in the direction of the Congress, no chief would have fared any higher. The Congress was doomed.
In 2017, when Rahul Gandhi lastly grew to become Congress President, he confirmed the primary flashes of brilliance. By then, Hindutva was in vogue and hegemonic Left-liberal ideology had been relegated to the margins of the discourse. The nation’s ecosystem had modified. The BJP painted the Congress and opposition as events solely involved about Muslims. Rahul Gandhi, through the Gujarat elections, tried to boldly readjust the celebration’s ideology. Regardless of reservations throughout the celebration and exterior, he boldly projected himself as a “Hindu chief with out hate”. His hopping from temple to temple did deliver dividends to the Congress. Modi and Amit Shah needed to work extraordinarily onerous to save lots of their authorities in Gujarat. In Karnataka, the BJP couldn’t kind the federal government and later, in December 2018, the Congress received three states – MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. However such was the facility of the media discourse and relentless propaganda in social media that even those that have been sympathetic to Rahul Gandhi weren’t prepared to provide him credit score. In personal, many did admit that he had completed an excellent job however they turned quiet in public discourse. Even Left-liberal intellectuals and political consultants. When the Congress was as soon as once more routed within the common election final yr, the blame was but once more heaped on Rahul Gandhi as if he have been the solitary purpose for the Congress’s colossal failure. I consider that if the Pulwama incident had not occurred, Modi would have been struggling to cross 250 seats in parliament.
Modi is an incontestably highly effective and in style chief and but the BJP nationally musters solely 39% of the vote. The Congress in its heyday all the time had greater than 40% votes. The BJP has been persistently dropping states. However such is the facility of propaganda that Modi isn’t blamed for losses and Rahul is criticized in victories. Liberals endure from a lot paranoia that they need the Congress to die. Did they ask comparable questions when the BJP misplaced two consecutive elections in 2004 and 2009?
For Rahul, that is the Atal-Advani second. Like they went by means of the highs and lows, equally, he should undergo these. Those that ridicule him are likely to neglect that the BJS/BJP took 46 years to kind the federal government on the centre regardless of the lengthy legacy of the RSS that was shaped in 1925. For my part, to say that Rahul going to Hathras is type of reinventing himself is a nonsensical assertion. It is a political course of which a pacesetter in opposition should undergo. Rahul Gandhi took that political leap when he determined to hop temples, just like the BJP did in 1985 when it switched from “Gandhian Socialism” to “Integral Humanism”. The remainder is a matter of grabbing alternatives, fine-tuning methods, and studying the artwork of ruthless politics.
(Ashutosh is a Delhi-based writer and journalist.)
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