Friday, 2 December, 2022
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Whether it’s CM Fadnavis or CM Thackeray, the only winner in Maharashtra is Rahul Gandhi

The outcome of the perceived or genuine rift in Pawar family doesn't matter. Rahul Gandhi can now claim the moral high ground.

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Rahul Gandhi had reasons to celebrate Saturday evening. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew, Ajit Pawar, had saved the day for all dynasts in Indian politics by supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra. Imagine the implications of the Congress coming to power in a state despite the Nehru-Gandhi family having played virtually no role in the election campaign – while Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra stayed away, Rahul Gandhi addressed barely half-a-dozen rallies in both Haryana and Maharashtra. It would be a blow to all political dynasties. It was already bad enough that the Congress had put up a creditable resistance in the two states after the party’s first family abandoned the fight, hoping to teach its veterans a lesson in defeat.

The election results were especially shocking to Rahul Gandhi. He hasn’t said a word on the poll outcome in the past one month, not to speak of congratulating party veterans on turning things around. Have you seen or heard of a leader who goes into a sulk because his party has done well in the elections?

Rahul Gandhi’s trusted lieutenant K.C. Venugopal, who ran away from the electoral fray in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, echoed his boss’s sentiments as he opposed a tie-up with the Shiv Sena. But the fear of large-scale defections in the party, more than the temptation to keep the BJP out of power in India’s most industrialised state, prevailed over Sonia Gandhi’s motherly instincts; she gave a go-ahead for talks with the Shiv Sena.

Whatever the outcome of the perceived or genuine rift in Pawar family, Rahul Gandhi can now claim the moral high ground. The former Congress president will be the winner, regardless of whether the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra goes to BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis or Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray.

If Fadnavis manages to prove his government’s majority on the floor of the state assembly, as and when it comes to that depending on the Supreme Court’s decision Monday, Congress veterans should brace themselves for a massive assault from Rahul Gandhi’s lieutenants: ‘How could you ‘destroy’ our secular credentials by agreeing to ally with the Shiv Sena?’ ‘Rahulji’, to them, personifies the party’s secular ideology: he wears a janeu, visits temples, and went to Kailash Mansarovar just as he vowed to scrap triple talaq law, made alleged defamatory remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and respected but didn’t ‘welcome’ the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict. These veterans would have a lot of explaining to do why they shouldn’t be exiled to the island of Saint Helena for damaging Rahul’s secular image.

In the Congress’ eventual defeat in the current political tussle in Maharashtra, therefore, lies the former party president’s victory. He had held these veterans responsible for the Congress’ defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election while resigning from the party’s top post in July.

And if these veterans manage to foil the BJP’s plans and install a Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena government, so what? The victory would still be Rahul Gandhi’s. Maharashtra and Haryana election results were a vindication of his political philosophy, anyway: “If India is computer, Congress is its default programme.”

You may sense a blend of faith and technology or a bit of metaphysics in Rahul Gandhi’s politics. Remember how British author Samuel Johnson described metaphysical poetry: “The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allusions….”

Also read: Why Congress keeps deferring its protests on economy — Rahul’s vanishing act, state polls

Why BJP may not grudge this Gandhi win

The reader (or voters today) may be “seldom pleased” as Johnson, the 18th-century poet-critic, noted. But the political theory of victory-by-default seems to pervade a large section of the opposition camp today.

Rahul’s tenure as an ‘active politician’ — given that he makes only guest appearances in India nowadays — was known for ideological confusion, political pusillanimity, and near-stasis. It’s no different for his contemporaries in Indian politics. Every time they are required to make bold political and ideological statements, they take refuge in literary couplets and poems to hedge their insecurity and confusion. After the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on Ayodhya title dispute and the BJP went to town claiming credit for it, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav reacted with a couplet on Twitter: “Jo faisle faaslon ko ghatate hain, wo insaan ko behtar insaan banate hain (decisions that reduce distances make human beings better).” One can only surmise that he wanted Muslims to accept the decision but wouldn’t say it in as many words.

Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) expressed his “respect” for the Supreme Court’s decision, adding, “Every temple, mosque, gurudwara and church in the country is ours only…sab apne hain.” They were all taking the Congress line, expressing respect for the verdict but not welcoming it with the hope of pleasing both Hindus and Muslims.

Like Rahul Gandhi, both Yadavs, expected to lead the Resistance against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, have been running their politics through their Twitter handles, with the public as well as their parties’ rank and file guessing about their whereabouts.

It’s not just the Yadavs. Most opposition leaders do their politics through Twitter – Mayawati, Sitaram Yechury, Hemant Soren, you name it. The BJP, despite its national domination, has been on the streets of West Bengal to try to dislodge Mamata Banerjee in the 2021 assembly election but opposition leaders who would face election in the next two years mostly remain in cyber space. Why bother when they are sure of regaining power by default?

Also read: When enemy’s friend is your friend: Congress-NCP take a leaf out of BJP-Left book

Opposition in need of Rahul’s Jupiter’s escape velocity

Mamata Banerjee is a formidable opposition leader who has made the BJP sweat for every inch it has gained in West Bengal. Her silence on Ayodhya verdict and the recent attack on MP Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM betrayed her frayed nerves. She is trying to retain her Muslim vote bank without antagonising Hindus. One can find many faults with her politics.

But while Mamata is doing what she does best, the main credit goes to the BJP, which has been relentlessly changing the goalpost for opposition players. They have been left huffing and puffing in trying to match its pace on nearly every issue — surgical strikes, triple talaq, Balakot air strike, Article 370, Ayodhya dispute, and now the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Blame it on their ideological and political bankruptcy, they have always been found fumbling for a cogent response. They may be looking at Rahul Gandhi to get some guidance on how to acquire Jupiter’s ‘escape velocity’ to beat Amit Shah-led BJP’s gravitational pull.

The former Congress president does not seem to have any clues either. But their spirit is indomitable. “In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed,” Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted from 19th century English poet William Ernest Henley’s celebrated poem Invictus on 19 November, remembering her grandmother Indira Gandhi on her birthday.

The BJP can’t grudge them their bravado and optimism. After Haryana and Maharashtra, they are now looking at Jharkhand, hoping to get another indication of the validity of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘default’ theory.

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  1. Quite disgusting frankly.
    Deriding Rahul G is the only argument in town ? What of the absolute lack of any values, any ideology and any achievements of the BJP and allies?
    Whither such an resounding majority one would think a government with any direction, other than fighting phantoms of Muslim terror and staying in power , would have transformed the economy.
    Instead its media outlets go on and on about Rahul G.

  2. Mr. Singh: At this time we have economic crisis, farmers in distress, electoral bonds scam, attack on educational institutions, lack of law and order … and the list literally goes on and on, do we really need another Rahul Gandhi bashing article? Disappointed after reading this, I thought that there’d be some interesting insights but no, just another now regular exercise in bashing the Gandhi family. Rahul Gandhi is just an MP, having resigned party presidentship and clearly stating a non-Gandhi should take that role. It seems that you miss Rahul: even if he is overseas he does appear to be taking timely action for his constituency as can be seen by his correspondence regarding the Wayanad school snake bite death. With regards to limiting protests to social media, when Congress hits the streets could you kindly share which journalistic outlets cover this? As can be seen on their twitter timeline Congress has been holding protests across the country regarding the economy: which news channel/website has covered this? I can see you enjoy using Rahul Gandhi and the remainder of the family as punching bags, as a reader it’s now getting rather tedious, it’s definitely time to move on.

    Yes . It is Rahul’s victory. After all these days columnists journalists are all obsessed with him. Not to speak of BJP,which practically every day come out haranguing . what else you want.

  4. What nonsense? How can any one see this as a victory for Rahul? Congress had lost any remnants of “moral high ground” long ago with its extrordinay hunger and thirst for corruption by the dynasty remnants!

  5. Small minds discuss personalities, broader minds discuss ideas. Focus on what each of them stands for and what are the implications of these in the future of India.

  6. Call it sympathy for the underdog. One felt hurt by the industrial scale trolling of “ Pappu “. However, seeing his erratic behaviour after the general election result, it is clear that he is a liability for the Congress.

    • Didn’t Rahul resigned as the party president? He doesn’t hols any office, and is an ordinary party member. How is he then a liability for the Congress?

  7. In order to win in politics you need to claim the moral middle ground, and not the high or low grounds.IT’s not helpful to the COng if Rahul claims high ground. Can he even win one State ? Most of the COng States were won by the local leaders. Most of his supporters were kept out of Haryana and Mah , to avoid a debacle. Meditation has its limitations in politics.

  8. Chamchagiri never dies. I guess if you owe our career and success to the favors rendered by certain political masters, you are obliged to be loyal to them for life.

    • Lol you are so dumb,this article was bashing rahul….you could not see that because all bhakts want is outright abuse on rahul…this article was no less…..but it was twisted for your dumbass brains to understand….

  9. Reason why Modi-Amit Shah duo would not allow Cong to form govt. with SS n NCP n would rather opt for re-election.

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