Monday, August 3, 2015

Modi, Rahul and days ahead

 Pankaj Sharma
3 August 2015, New Delhi

The public is beginning to see through Prime Minister Modi’s facade.

Every single day, I meet people who have tremendous understanding and deep insight. They are everywhere around us. No matter how much they try to speak out and articulate their viewpoint, no one listens. And then I meet people holding high positions with tremendous voice but with no understanding for the issues at hand. Why does this happen? It happens because we do not respect knowledge. We respect position and power. And it does not matter how much wisdom you have, if you do not have a position, you mean nothing. This is the tragedy of India.”

“Congress party is world’s largest political organisation, but it is not governed by set rules. The party perhaps has no rule and regulations. We make new rules every two minutes and burry the older one. Here nobody perhaps knows which rules Congress party follows. It’s an interesting organisation. Sometimes I ask myself how does this party run? How does Congress win elections? How do we defeat other parties? I cannot understand all this.”

“I have learned a lot from senior leaders in last eight years. I will learn more and more by meeting them in future as they are the people who have vast experience. They carry the history of Congress party with them. They carry the philosophy of our party with them. For me, the Congress party is now my life. I will fight for this party and for people of India with everything I have. I invite all of you to stand up and take on this fight.”

I was one of those thousands who were listening to Rahul Gandhi. Sitting on the dais behind him in the last line I was literally filled with a sense of pride sensing a secure, strong and bright future under a young and dynamic leadership. The day was 20 January 2013 and Rahul had taken over as the Vice President of the party during the session of All India Congress Committee held at Jaipur.

Some within the Congress party and Bharatiya Janata Party have a democratic right to laugh at me for saying that it was only because of the strong-willed guidance of Sonia Gandhi’s that the Congress party could face the political hiccups of last 36 months and now playing such an effective role in parliamentary democracy.

 It is not easy for any political organisation to access capital to start business afresh after going through defeats after defeats in a short span of fewer than 1000 days. But Rahul could do it. Today, Congress is giving sleepless nights to BJP in the centre and in the states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. It is also not easy to keep otherwise warring factions within the organisation under check in an atmosphere of acute demoralisation after losing electoral battles one after another. But Rahul’s grip kept his party intact across the country.

On the contrary, the BJP,  is imploding from within. Even an unprecedented electoral victory with 282 seats and the process of regimentation with which BJP is passing through for last one year under prime minister Narendra Modi and his field marshal Amit Shah are failing in keeping the flocks together. Senior leaders in BJP are privately criticising Modi for his autocratic attitude, egoist manners and loose tongue. His recent comment on Nitish Kumar’s DNA has created strong ripples within Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliates. 

Modi is now being openly criticised by important state leaders for his misguided political decisions such as projecting Kiran Bedi as chief minister in Delhi; appointment of ineffective chief ministers in Maharashtra and Haryana; creating a non-functioning NITI Ayog; unnecessarily putting institutions related to arts, culture and films in controversies and for a strong public perception on non-deliverance by his government on almost all fronts.

Here is a leader who could not sustain the hype he created for his party even for 282 days after people gave him 282 members in the Lok Sabha. And, here is another leader who is unfazed and going stronger every day even after his party faced the biggest electoral humiliation in its history. The sheen of false promises and huge propaganda to lure the electorate is fast losing its shine. Deceivers are never trusted twice. Narendra Modi and BJP, therefore, are bound to start the downward journey. The strong foundation of time-tested principles and policies can never be buried forever. 

Rahul Gandhi will, therefore, be able to revive his Congress very soon. He knows how to keep his words and I know that he can never forget what he said in Jaipur Congress session. When India will watch the final round of the match between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi in the arena of political integrity, Rahul’s score will leave Modi far behind.

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