After Independence, there hasn’t been a more unpopular Government than the present Congress led UPA. In India there are two issues which have the most impact on elections. They are inflation and corruption. During the tenure of the present Government both these issues have reached the nadir. This itself is an alarm bell for the Congress. The question is whether in 2014 Rahul Gandhi can lead the Congress to victory. Does his leadership have the capacity to re-establish the Congress at the Centre and become the Prime Minister?… Now, when Rahul Gandhi is going to fight the most important battle in politics, the country’s youth is not with him. The reason for this is that in his speeches no future hopes are kindled for the youth.
“Neem hakim khatra e jaan’ is a saying which means there is risk and danger from those who, like quacks, have only ‘half knowledge’. Rahul Gandhi has not perhaps given attention to this saying. This is the reason why despite working so hard he has failed to establish his credibility as a strong national leader. It was because of his advisors that he became an object of mockery in the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Rahul Gandhi’s advisors have become a source of trouble for the Congress party. What happened to Lal Krishna Advani in the last Lok Sabha elections because of ultra intelligent advisors, the same fate seems to be in store for Rahul Gandhi in 2014.
During elections, it is easy for the Opposition to criticise the work of the ruling party, because their work is before everyone. This time it is easier for the Opposition, because in the last ten years the UPA has performed actions and deeds due to which the entire country is facing pain. Whether it is scams, price rise, unemployment, disrepute, or weevils beginning to eat into the official machinery, the Congress-led UPA Government leads and excels in every bad thing, every evil. After Independence, there hasn’t been a more unpopular Government. In India there are two issues which have the most impact on elections. They are inflation and corruption. During the tenure of the present Government both these issues have reached the nadir. This itself is an alarm bell for the Congress. The question is whether in 2014 Rahul Gandhi can lead the Congress to victory. Does his leadership have the capacity to re-establish the Congress at the Centre and become the Prime Minister?
There is considerable churning in the media on Rahul Gandhi. The country has accepted that the 2014 elections will be Modi versus Rahul. Modi is holding big rallies and there is an undercurrent running in his favour. In recent days all surveys are saying in one voice that Modi is the first choice for the post of Prime Minister. Modi is currently on the top step of popularity but in our country the election process is such that these surveys will not have much of an effect. After Modi, if any other name comes up for the post of Prime Minister, it is that of Rahul Gandhi. Several people think he is our future Prime Minister. It will have to be said that Rahul Gandhi is a strong candidate for the Prime Ministership because he is Indira Gandhi’s grandson, Rajiv Gandhi’s son. He is in politics because of the legitimacy given in Indian politics to ‘dynastic’ succession. However, so far he has not given any proof which can engender confidence that he could become a successful Prime Minister.
Some days ago a famous magazine, ‘The Economist’, wrote that Rahul Gandhi is not yet ready to lead. This magazine raised questions about Rahul Gandhi’s political understanding and put his very ability in the dock. The question is not what is or what is not in Rahul Gandhi’s mind. In any case, to know and understand that the people of India do not need ‘The Economist’. At first, the Congress presented Rahul Gandhi as a youth leader. During the last Lok Sabha elections such an atmosphere was indeed created, but there was no benefit from this campaign either in Bihar or the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Those people who joined Rahul did so for some time only. As elections approached they either stood up against the Congress or went to other parties. Now, when Rahul Gandhi is going to fight the most important battle in politics, the country’s youth is not with him.
The reason for this is that in his speeches no future hopes are kindled for the youth.
In any case, a 43 year old is not a child and we cannot call him a youth either. Whether it be Gautam Buddha, Jesus Christ or Vivekananda, they proved their mettle by the age of 30, but those who call Rahul a young leader or a youth leader at 43 years will have to answer what he has done due to which the heads of the people living in India can be held high with pride. Within or outside Parliament, let them name one speech or deed of his which one wants to hear again and again, a speech, after listening to which the youth are enthused with energy and filled and charged with enthusiasm. If this cannot be done, then they must certainly tell whether in his 43 years he has given even a glimpse of any ideology, of his principles, vision or far sightedness? Can Rahul Gandhi cite any such achievement of his which has had an effect on society or politics? Rahul Gandhi has neither shown all this, nor can any sign or reflection of it be seen.
The manner in which Rahul Gandhi recently put the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet in the dock over the question of tainted MPs and legislators is not expected from a sagacious statesman. If Rahul Gandhi did this on someone’s advice, then that advice was wrong and if he did it on his own, it can only be described as egoistical. Issuing an Ordinance against an order of the Supreme Court can create a Constitutional dispute, contradiction or controversy. According to the Constitution, an Ordinance can be issued only when Parliament is not in session and secondly, when such a situation arises in which it is necessary to take immediate action. Now what was that situation that it became necessary to issue an Ordinance and that too against a Supreme court decision?
President Pranab Mukherjee held discussions on these questions with three Union Ministers, one of whom is a legal personality. The Opposition too raised questions on this Ordinance, from which it seemed that the President would not put his seal on this Ordinance. But the way Rahul Gandhi tried to take credit by calling the Ordinance ‘nonsense’ and a wrong decision of the Cabinet was an ‘un-political’ and immature decision.
The Assembly election results in Bihar and UP are a living example of Rahul Gandhi’s lax and immature leadership. The Congress not only lost the elections, but the party lost its credibility. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are not small States. Both these States determine the direction of politics and political conditions in the country. The command and reins of the UP and Bihar elections were in Rahul’s hands, but as the elections approached those people whom Rahul Gandhi had ‘prepared’ as grass roots leaders and workers became anti-Congress. At the time of elections it was these people who were publicly spewing fire against Rahul Gandhi. Out of the people ‘prepared’ by Rahul, several fought the elections against the Congress and campaigned against it too. The biggest mistake for all this was that of Rahul Gandhi. He included in his party stray leaders who had left or been expelled from the BSP, who had left or been expelled from the Samajwadi Party. He gave them all the powers of the party. Whether it was ticket distribution, whether it was tasks related to campaigning, related with money, related with organisational matters, Rahul placed all these things in the hands of people who had come from outside.
These people began distributing tickets according to their own calculations. Congress workers began asking who is this Rasheed Masood, who is P L Punia, from where has Beni Babu come and why has Rahul made them all in all. Old timers in the Congress began drinking deep draughts of water and cursing the Congress Party. All the leaders and workers in Uttar Pradesh had been working with Digvijay Singh and Parvez Hashmi for four years, but when election time came, Rahul ignored the two. The Lok Sabha elections are approaching once again. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are very important States, but there is no plan for these States and no preparations can be seen either. Those people who are masters in the politics of Uttar Pradesh are being ignored again. This happens because Rahul works according to the advice of some of his advisors and it seems to him that the understanding of these advisors who are his age is more than that of mature leaders in the Congress.
In fact, Rahul Gandhi is being made a leader through media management. It is essential to understand this. An attempt was first made to project Rahul Gandhi as a youthful youth leader. The news was spread that Rahul Gandhi would democratise the Congress Party. There was planning, there was preparation that he would be made the biggest youth leader in the country. For this, the proceedings and practices of the Congress Party were changed. A separate staff secretariat,
a separate office and separate arrangements including separate staff were made for him.
The Congress party has nothing to do with what Rahul Gandhi will say, where he will go and which media will be there and what is to be said to the media, what is to be shown or not shown to the media. There are people to decide all this, and their task is to project a certain image of Rahul Gandhi. They make it understood that the speech which has to be made should be like that of Amitabh Bachchan in the film ‘Deewar’. ‘You should look like the angry young man’. Therefore, the tearing or ripping of paper, the attitude and style that should be shown – all this was explained to him. How to create his image — an agency had been hired for it. The interesting thing was that long speeches were being given. An image of an angry young man was ostensibly being created, but the reality was that during Rahul’s UP yatra, there would be a mere 1000-3000 people in audience. The feed that was being provided to media news channels – there were instructions that only close-ups should be shown. Show the stage, don’t show the public, those were the instructions.
But look at the irony. The hard work that the Congress Party had put in over four years, the entire organisation which had been prepared, on that you went and poured acid. When Rahul Gandhi, Digvijay Singh went to Azamgarh, Congress workers showed them black flags. In Jhansi, a shoe was thrown at Rahul. The person who threw the shoe was a Congress worker. The same mistake had been made in Bihar. This mistake is now being repeated. Now who is this great advisor of Rahul Gandhi’s who schedules his rallies in Uttar Pradesh during the Navratra period? Rallies were held on 9 October in Aligarh and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. Aligarh’s exhibition ground is quite large, but remained largely empty during Rahul Gandhi’s speech. The chairs too remained unoccupied. About 3000 people reached there. The situation was worse at the Rampur rally. The meaning of all this is that Rahul repeats the same mistake again and again. To recognise one’s mistakes, to accept one’s mistakes and not repeat them are also a quality of leadership.
Politics in the country is taking a turn. A mountain of challenges is standing before Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party. The Congress Party is standing on the verge of its most shameful defeat in history. Along with inflation and corruption, Rahul Gandhi has to wash away the black blot of a Government that failed and Manmohan Singh’s ineffective leadership. Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have carried out the task of awakening the country and spreading awareness through andolans (mass movementa). Rahul Gandhi will also have to deal with this awakening and awareness. Apart from this, Narendra Modi is an additional challenge. The people are not just troubled, they are upset, annoyed, angry with the Congress too. The public is searching for a solution to its problems. At a time like this, the public is in search of a leadership which can provide it with solutions. If Rahul Gandhi says that ‘I am still young, I want to see India, I am learning, I want to know the real India’, then it must be assumed that in 2014 the people of this country will reject Rahul Gandhi right at the outset.
In elections in India, whenever there has been a storm of protest against the Congress, there have been only two reasons behind it. Inflation and corruption. In the last 10 years the UPA Government has broken all records in inflation and corruption. In the electoral politics of India it is easy to face an opponent like Narendra Modi, but the biggest problem for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress is the Supreme Court. Hearings of the coal scam, the 2G scam, and many other cases including the UID are going on in the Supreme Court. In every scam the Government has been at fault. On one side, the Congress Party wants to win the elections by referring to the Food Security Bill, Director Cash Transfer and other such schemes. It seems to the Congress Party that when the people get money in the bank and free cereals then they will forget all the corruption and mistakes, misdeeds and blunders of the UPA Government. People will forget inflation. People will forget corruption. But the problem is that the UPA Government had planned to implement these schemes through the basis of the UID, i.e. the Aadhar card, but the Supreme Court has questioned the validity of the Aadhar card.
The people of the country have become aware. The public was deceived for many years. Till the money is transferred into bank accounts, till free grain is received, till then, the people will not rely on the promises of the Congress. The Supreme Court, by raising a question on the Aadhar card, has virtually ended the ‘Aadhar’, the basis of the Congress campaign. The second problem for the Congress is that news is continuously coming of all the scams which are being heard in court. It was only recently that the Supreme Court reprimanded the Government in the coal scam. Orders were even given to file an FIR for the missing files linked to the scam. The Congress Party was embarrassed and belittled by this.
The problem is that because of the hearings of the scams in court, they will be in the news regularly. The scams of the Congress Party leaders will continue to get renewed in the public mind and memory. Politics has started in the 2G scam JPC report. Along with the Opposition, Karunanidhi’s DMK Party has also stood up in opposition. This means that in times to come too there will be politics in the 2G scam. What the judgement will be the courts will decide, but this scam will be in the consciousness of the people continuously. Alongside, with the economic conditions in the country and the way the Government has failed totally to contain inflation, it seems that the people will have to bear the beating from inflation till the next elections. This means that there is trouble for the Congress Party from all four sides. Incidentally, the coal scam was first exposed by us at Chauthi Duniya. The danger is that the needle of suspicion in the coal scam has stopped directly on Manmohan Singh. The coal scam took place when Manmohan Singh was also the Minister of Coal. Therefore, if there is any bad news from the Supreme Court, the Congress Party’s election campaign could remain in limbo.