Uncertainty and confusion prevail in the Congress for the post of Prime Minister of the country. Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly been stating that he does not want to become the Prime Minister, but wants to run the party and that is why he has formally accepted the post of Vice President of the Congress. Even if Rahul had not accepted the post, people would still have considered his standing in the Congress the same as that of his mother. Sometimes a group of Ministers speaks up suddenly that it is indeed Rahul Gandhi who will become the Prime Minister. Some Congress leaders believe that if Rahul Gandhi does not become the Prime Minister now, his prospects of becoming Prime Minister in 2014 will become very slim, because in their opinion the Congress is unlikely to get as many seats as it has presently.
Manmohan Singh has indicated that he can become the Prime Minister even for the third time. This indication is very important and significant. Manmohan Singh is quite healthy and it would be surprising if he did not nurture such a desire, because if he were to become Prime Minister for the third consecutive time, then he would be creating new Congress history which only Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were able to create. There could be two reasons behind this indication from Manmohan Singh. One reason could be the attempt to make history and the second reason could be an impartial report of the Intelligence Bureau. Some of the officers of the Intelligence Bureau are of the opinion that Congress will lose its seats in toto. In such a situation, if elections are contested with Rahul Gandhi being projected as the candidate for the Prime Minister’s post, the prospects for the Congress could become even more bleak. If the Congress enters the election fray with Manmohan Singh being announced as the Prime Ministerial candidate, there will be two benefits. If the Congress wins or comes to power through an alliance, then Manmohan Singh can be requested not to accept the Prime Minister’s post and Rahul Gandhi can directly take oath as Prime Minister. The second benefit would be that if Congress is defeated, then it can be said that Rahul Gandhi didn’t lose, it was the Congress that lost and Rahul Gandhi’s prospects for the next elections will remain open.
If somebody does not understand India, it can be understood, but if somebody does not even try to understand India, that cannot be understood. Rahul is not trying to understand this country. At every chance, he goes abroad. Suddenly, his pictures disappear from the country’s newspapers. So it is that when a girl is raped in Delhi and lakhs of people gather at India Gate throughout the week, the youth present there ask : where is our youth leader, where has he gone?
However, there are a large number of such people in the country who believe that if Manmohan Singh leaves the Congress and goes amongst the people of the country, he could prove to be the most efficient, effective Opposition leader. But this question is not visible standing anywhere even in the far distance. The reason for this is the favour Sonia Gandhi did to a person like Manmohan Singh by making him Prime Minister : due to this it does not seem that Manmohan Singh will ever oppose any strategy made by Sonia Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister. Perhaps Manmohan Singh would much rather prefer to retire and live the life of a former Prime Minister than tour the country, take a new responsibility on his head and set up a new party.
Now the question arises, what will Rahul Gandhi do? Rahul Gandhi should now give evidence of his understanding to the country. Till today Rahul Gandhi has been chary of addressing a full fledged press conference. Answering questions in passing or off hand is a different matter and in any case those answers, thanks to an indulgent media, are presented in a piece-meal, half-baked form. If Rahul Gandhi addresses a full fledged press conference and presents his views on the questions and issues facing the country, perhaps he can succeed in making the nation believe that if the Congress makes him Prime Minister, instead of being a disaster for the country, he will be an asset. Even if one moves away from talk of a press conference, why is Rahul Gandhi never seen giving speech without looking at a paper in his hands? Does he fear that questions will arise over his understanding of issues?
It is vital for Rahul Gandhi to be seen speaking naturally, without a paper in his hands because it is essential that a belief begins to forms in the minds of the people of the country, that the candidate for the post of Prime Minister is a person who will ensure, when the time comes, that India’s head will never be bowed before the world. Hearing Rahul Gandhi speak on various subjects in a seminar or elsewhere could be a pleasant experience, but when that happy experience will be ours cannot be said. Rahul Gandhi has given a statement that he does not want to marry. If he gets married and tied by family bonds, most of his time will be spent looking after his family and he will not be able to do anything for the country. This statement of Rahul Gandhi reminds one of Anna Hazare’s statement, when he decided at 26 years of age that he would take up social service and will not get married. Is Rahul Gandhi taking a decision based on Anna Hazare’s life or is he publicly putting emotional pressure on his mother? His mother desires that he gets married now.
Just like any other mother, the desire to see a grandson must have awakened in Sonia Gandhi and she must have asked Rahul Gandhi to marry. But according to unconfirmed reports, Rahul Gandhi has two intimate friends, one of them a Columbian and the second someone from Afghanistan. Sonia Gandhi does not like either. Could it not be that a family war is on within 10 Janpath, in which Rahul Gandhi wants to marry a close friend and his mother may not be permitting him to do so, in response to which Rahul Gandhi came up with an idealistic statement that that if he marries, then trapped in sentimental bonds and looking after his family, he will not be able to work for the people of the country. On this if it is true many people will support Rahul Gandhi. But even if one leaves aside personal things about Rahul, it is still essential to talk about his concepts and ideological side.
Rahul Gandhi’s views on poor people on India, the unemployed, the crippling price rise, corruption, Dalits, industries, health and education are yet to come before one. These are questions and issues which are standing like an ogre with mouth agape before any person occupying the Prime Minister’s post. Rahul Gandhi can say that my friends the experts, the specialists will search for the answers to these questions. His ‘expert, specialist’ friends are with him even today, but their expertise on how much after all they know and understand India is very much within the periphery of doubts. If somebody does not understand India, it can be understood, but if somebody does not even try to understand India, that cannot be understood. Rahul is not trying to understand this country. At every chance, he goes abroad. Suddenly, his pictures disappear from the country’s newspapers. So it is that when a girl is raped in Delhi and lakhs of people gather at India Gate throughout the week, the youth present there ask where is our youth leader, where has he gone?
The people of the country with whom Rahul Gandhi should be and the understanding with which he should be with them is not discernable at present. The Congress can make whoever it wants the Prime Minister that is its right but if after becoming Prime Minister that person turns out to be someone who does not understand the country, it will give rise to the very real danger of chaos. The present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh understands America, understands England, understands Europe, understands American economics but does not understand the economics of India. Had he understood it, prices and inflation would not have risen, unemployment would not have increased, corruption would not have increased. The state of education, health, roads and the communication system would have been fine. All these are the problems which trouble the common man of India, angers and pricks the common man, but Manmohan Singh has no solution, no remedy for these problems. It is to be hoped that Rahul Gandhi will give the people of the country an initiation, an introduction to his understanding, so that they can be a little assured that at least one candidate for the post of Prime Minister not only knows and understands the problems of the country, but also possesses the competence and capability of dealing with them and solving them.