Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi | PTI
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Earlier this week, Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by his mother and Manmohan Singh, met the ambassadors of the G20 countries over lunch. The ambassadors cannot be blamed for having expected a formal statement by Mr Gandhi on his approach to foreign policy. All they got was polite chitchat as the Congress president circulated from one table to the next. Waste of time, said one diplomat present. Missed opportunity, said another.

A picture of TN Ninan, chairman of Business Standard Private LimitedIf, by general consent, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has regained lost ground since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poor showing in the state elections of November-December, one reason has to be the failure of the opposition to say what they stand for, even as Modi’s government has ramped up its flow of full-page advertisements listing sundry achievements (the Aam Aadmi Party has been doing the same in Delhi to mark its fourth anniversary in office). Modi has also got away, unchallenged, when he has claimed repeatedly that nothing happened before his government took charge. Indeed, the Congress has been a bystander while the BJP has appropriated Congress stalwarts from the past like Subhas Chandra Bose and Vallabhbhai Patel, even Mahatma Gandhi.

What Rahul Gandhi has done so far is to attack Modi on a variety of issues, but his barbs have not been even remotely as effective as the old retort about a “suit-boot sarkar”. The Rafale accusations have been blunted by the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, which conveniently failed to include in its calculations the cost of the sovereign guarantee foregone. The business of Modi being a chor or thief cuts no ice because (unlike Bofors) there is not even a hint of a money trail. Worse, any fool would know that tackling Modi on a national security platform, in the wake of Pulwama and Balakot, is like playing Rafael Nadal on clay. Wisdom would have suggested getting back as quickly as possible to the farmer distress-lack of jobs platform that had Modi on the defensive.


Also read: A national security election gives Rahul Gandhi the perfect excuse to lose


The fact is that, for all its failures (for which it got voted out), the Manmohan Singh government had significant achievements to show. In the wake of the BJP campaign that the impossible has been made possible (Namumkin ab mumkin hai), it would have been an obvious gambit for Gandhi to remind voters that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance delivered in the past, and to assert that it can deliver again. In case he needs reminding, the UPA’s achievements included a dramatic drop in poverty at an unprecedented rate, doubling investment in infrastructure (as a percentage of GDP), new airports in all the major cities, enough power capacity for the first time to put an end to power shortages, a sharp decline in Left-wing extremism by the end of UPA rule and a notably quieter Kashmir, record agricultural growth plus crop diversification, the Aadhaar initiative, empowering citizens through the law on the right to information, the rural employment guarantee programme, giving two million forest-dwellers their land rights under a new law, successfully tackling AIDS, and so on. Would reminding people of these achievements have helped the Congress to rebut that it is not just Modi who delivers? If yes, why is Gandhi as reticent on this as he was at the meeting with G20 ambassadors?


Also read: Rahul Gandhi, share your foreign policy ideas beyond closed-door meetings


By general consensus, Gandhi has emerged as a more serious politician after his initial, wrong-footed forays. Certainly, it took him a while to get serious about politics (having entered Parliament 15 years ago). For the last six years, he has been either vice-president or president of the Congress. But he has manifestly failed to re-build the party at the grassroots during this period, or throw up new leaders. Still, the Congress has begun to fare better in elections — state as well as by-elections — while the BJP’s record in by-elections is just five of 13 seats that it originally held. But Gandhi looks in danger of frittering away the momentum gifted to him by the government’s mis-steps. That risk is compounded by critical failures in alliance formation, in both Delhi and the all-important Uttar Pradesh.

By Special Arrangement with Business Standard.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. No matter how much the congress bought media reporter like Mr. Niman tries to scam and fool Indians by writing such stupid and worthless opinions. I f you really want to help Rahul then, advise him to come with a solid proposals on the following issues: (!) terrorism, (2) corruption (3) threat from neighbors.
    Rahul and his goons are using the same worthless approach which was used in last forty years successfully to scam and fool Indians. All reported like this one also writes such stupid article assuming that Indians will believe this mambo jumbo. The biggest change is viral news which travel faster and reach to majority of Indians. In addition, Indians are not brain dead as it was still presume by the corrupted goons. The facts are congress did nothing for Indian. All goons were busy raping and robing India. Rahul is doing great job of showing how the gang of thugs is desperate to get back their robbery . Indians are tiered of listening his nockery of Rafale, Modi chor and now proof of dead terrorist. Mr. Niman. Please ask Rahul and other congress idiots why the want number of dead terrorists. Is Rahul and his goons wants to do sharadh for dead terrorist? Mr. Niman, if youy really care for India, then, stop writing such foolish article and start questioning the gang of goons about hte issues concerning India.

  2. Yet another in a long line of articles praying and hoping that somehow Rahul becomes more capable in politics. Praying and hoping is not a strategy. The noise you are hearing is that of the Congress Dynasty beginning its accelerating descent, with occasional fits and starts, onto the landing strip of irrelevance.

  3. Upa ii is mirred in corruption and policy paralysis. This is their biggest achievement. PL mention this. Otherwise it is biased journalism

  4. We common people thinking that, MODI govt done very well than MM Sing and UPA govt. Mr. Naina shows many achievements os UPA, but not showing their failure in National Security, Inflation, Huge Corruption of their Ministerie and Gandhi Family, Empowerment of Army and failed to fulfill their strategic requirements, Failure in Better Relationship and Poor Image Building in International relations.

    Publically Insults of PM several times by GANDHI FAMILY, one Italian and Non Indian lady lady insult our PM , these was disgusting us.
    PM was ignored by their Ministers every time.

    Rahul is BUDDHU AND DAFAR, he has nothing to do with People’s of India, One Example is he is grandson of MR.FIROZ GANDHI a PARASI GENTLEMAN, now tell us how a Parsi man Can be a Janeu Dhari Brahman. Why he denied and not talking about Mr. Firoz Gandhi????

    UPA GOVT’S GROWTH RATE WAS IN DOUBLE DIGIT INFLATION, AND NDA’S GROTH RATE IS IN NOT ONLY IN SINGLE DIGIT BUT AT ALL TIME LOW THROUGHOUT THE TENUR. This is the big achievement.

    But you only sees 1 Akhlak, 1 Rohit Vemula, and some or few stupid lower category BJP worker jibe or act.
    MODI did thousands of good work for poor people, farmers and Dalits, but you stay only on few insidence.

    If PAPPU RAHUL ever become PM of INDIA , it will be a tragedy for our country for ever. Future generations will never forgive our current generation.

  5. No one, not even a child or a person on the street believes that Modi is corrupt. Modis’s family’s fortunes are open book, unlike the hidden wealths of Gandhis or others. The Rafale is no issue among the voters, except for Rahul and Mamata. Others in the Mahathugbandhan, although talk Rafale, but half heartedly. The reaction and behavior of these opponents of Modi has turned the battle between the friends of Imran Vs the defenders of India. The present day opposition parties in their hate for Modi, are competing with each other in praising Imran and Pakistani Army Chief, thinking that their voters will come from Pakistan. Modi, who was on the defensive after losing elections in three states, got the booster dose, thanks to their foolish reactions on Balkana air strike. But, as they have no economic or foreign policy the only glue uniting them is the fear of Modi. They have no other choice then to react as they did. Because they cannot applaud Modi for air strikes . Either way they are between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

  6. OMG even Mr. Manmohan Singh will be surprised to learn about his achievements! I can’t believe that personal biases can prejudice the thinking of intechuals like Mr. Ninan so much. Mr. Ninan, your biggest asset is thinking, please don’t let it get so clouded there won’t be anything more to sell.

  7. Rahul should stick to the economic situation and the obvious failings of the BJP. Instead he has gone on a rampage on Rafale making scarcely credible statements like ” PM gave Ambani 30000 crore” or ” PM and colleagues should be prosecuted”.

    Talking of prosecution, does Rahul even understand the amount of background work and collection of documents that Swamy carried out to bring him and SOnia to trial in National Herald ?
    Neither he nor his legal colleagues have the will to put in the hard work and documentation to make a credible case against the BJP leaders.

  8. Sir, apropos to Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia, can I point out that offset contracts have not been signed as yet. And as the Defence Procurement Policy so clearly explains, post the contract signing, an MOD approval also need a to be taken to ensure compliance with offset rules and obligations.

    I wish to point out to Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia and your readers that MOUs are not enforceable contracts.

    With beat regards

    • Dear Baruah ji, I saw your rejoinder just now. I don’t know what MOU you are talking about, but the main stipulation of the big Rafale contract was that 60% of the full amount (for 36 jets) was to be paid by 31 March 2018, and first Rafale will arrive only in September 2019. President (ex) Hollande had said that Anil Ambani was sort of a precondition that the Indian side put, so the very fact that the contract has reached a fruition and a Rafale is accepted to land this year obviously means that the Anil Ambani part has been taken care of.

      There was a funny attempt by the Modi government to say that AA is there because Dassault chose him as an offset partner. My only retort to that is: well, that might be the case, but knowing AA’s technical and financial “expertise”, WHY DID MR. MODI NOT VETO THAT CHOICE, IN THE NAME OF BHARAT MATA’S SECURITY???

      I will explain this with a simple example. Suppose I request my building’s watchman to get a plumber to fix something in my house. If the watchman brings a man who is obviously not able to handle the job (he may be sozzled and reeking of booze, for example) then WILL I NOT VETO MY WATCHMAN’S CHOICE?

      Baruah ji, Narendra Modi is guilty. Not the best advocate Arun Jaitley can save him.

      • Why a hue and cry by congress when they lost 10 years in Rafale deal with no result . Air force was pressuring for two squadrons and HAL as a offset partner was killed by previous government and then then new government has no option . If there was Mukesh Ambani as off set partner instead of Anil Ambani ? All Ambanis , Adanis , Modis , Jains , Birlas Tatas, are not developed in Modis,s time but in the last 60 years of Congress rule.

  9. Hate for Modi so much that Editors, Journalists are trying to their best to prop up Rahul Gandhi. Investment in infrastructure? It is a joke. Road etc construction fastest under NDA,initially under ABV now in last five years.
    Power distribution companies were in tatters .
    Aadhaar was initiated but it took a Modi to realise it’s potential and implement fully… agriculture is in state list,most improvements were in BJP ruled stares…like MP…..Congress badly compromised national defence by resulting defense procurements……..And and GST implementation was delayed and a Modi had to get it going ….Manh huge lending during UPA period turned out to be NPAs ( growth was propelled by a mini credit bubble) and it was the NDA gift which came out with IBC, real oath breaker. Promoters who siphoned off money could not longer game the system

  10. The author is right on dot. He should focus more on people’s issue and allow corruption etc to others. He has already wasted five not being in the ground chasing both Modi and Shah. Too much of chowkidar Chor hai etc is counterproductive.

  11. If people are reminded of UPA’s great achievements, they may also recall the corruption, appeasement politics and policy paralysis of that era. Saner counsel must have prevailed.

  12. Given a choice between another five years on the Opposition benches and a loosely structured UPA III where not only would important portfolios – including the Big Four – be generously shared, perhaps even the top job be offered to a prominent coalition partner, the Congress should think about the possibilities. It should have done what it took to get ten seats from the SP – BSP in Uttar Pradesh. Laluji’s family has been so supportive for so long, no need to bargain hard. No harm in tying up with AAP. The other coalition arrangements – Maharashtra, Karnataka – ought to have been tied up ages ago. After ruling Delhi for ten years, Bombay for fifteen, surely the Congress does not need crowdfunding initiatives to fund a first rate campaign.

  13. It seems that Shri Ninan wants to set himself up as a cheerleader for Congress/ UPA and is dissapointed that Shri Rahul Gandhi is not growing up fast enough. Is this independent journalism?

  14. There may not be “a hint of money trail” YET, but the perennial question will remain, “why was Anil Ambani chosen”? Can a blatantly questionable act be condoned ONLY BECAUSE NO GRATIFICATION OF MONETARY HAS HAPPENED? Can you facilitate 30000 crores contract to a thoroughly undeserving person just like that? Money trail may or may not have occurred yet, or might have occurred partly, but this question itself establishes malafide intention. Was ego satisfaction the desired “bribe”? Even that would confirm corruption because this reward was extracted by “misusing official power” to a grave extent putting the country’s security in jeopardy. Or was there some bother intangible gratification obtained in lieu of facilitating contract for Anil Ambani? Plus there are other things like 126 to 36, foregoing any guarantee of any sort when Dassault HAD GIVEN BANK GUARANTEE in the earlier UPA case. There surely is a very grave case against Mr Modi; if a PM is indemnified against ALL decisions, I do not know.

    • Congress party’s defense minister A.K. Anthony was unable to deal for Rafale in his 7 years tenure and Indian air force was pressuring for two squadrons to fill urgent requirement . Previous UPA DEAL was killed by A.k. Anthony announcing that the government had no fund. In 2014 Modi government started fresh deal for 26 aircraft for Air force as per their urgent requirement.

  15. Yes, I agree. As we evaluate Modi‘s performance as the PM, it is equally important to evaluate Rahul Gandhi’s performance as the head of the main opposition party. He fails on many counts. His singular obsession with the Rafale issue has been suicidal for his party. As the author of the article has observed, the CAG report has aptly negated most of the allegations raised by Rahul Gandhi. His two main allegations regarding price comparison of Rs. 500 crore vs. Rs.1600 crore per plane and that Modi has put Rs.30000 crore in the pocket of Anil Ambani are laughable and indicate the quality of puerile mindset of Rahul Gandhi, who is unable comprehend even the basic features of an issue. Regarding the cost of guarantees foregone not considered in the CAG Report, I must say that CAG is quite justified in this. Firstly, it is difficult to quantify the guarantee commission cost. The Hindu has assumed rate of 2.4%, which is quite high. Most banks charge guarantee commission @ 1% and that also would be subject to negotiations between t client and his bank. Secondly, this was NOT part of the cost of the original (UPA) bid, since the cost was to be borne by the French company. It is, therefore, wrong accounting to reduce this component from the original cost for the purpose of alignment. This is bad arithmetic and a twisted logic. Assuming that the French Company had agreed to reduce the cost in the NDA deal by the amount of the guarantee commission, this would have further widened the differential between the two pricing. Thus 2.8% differential, as worked out by the CAG would have become (2.8+2.4) = 5.2%! By no means has the UPA bid price become better than the NDA deal price.

  16. Thing to be called global has to be purely local. Rahul is not stepping aside from his originality is a good thing. He should never lose his original character. To be the best one has to be in one line in thinking, saying and doing. I think what Rahul thinks, he speaks and what he speaks , he does.

    • LOL… what he speaks is what is written by his speech writer… as for doing… no one has seen him doing anything in last 15 years…

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