The Indian political ‘nautanki’ seems to have acquired a ridiculous dimension. The Prime Minister’s Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the two Sabhas of the Indian Parliament was the latest show that has got politicians and media evaluating and critiquing the ‘nautanki’ performances of different players. It seemed that the PM recalled the wrong script. He ended up delivering the speech that he had put together for an election rally in Karnataka. Members sitting on the opposition benches were worse off.
They were hooting as if it was not the Prime Minister of the country that was addressing them but some non-descript politician addressing a rally in a ‘mohalla’ which had distinctly divided political affiliations. And, to top it all was the, seemingly unprovoked, hysterical laughter of Renuka Chowdhary – for which the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha advised her to consult a doctor but the PM wanted her to continue as it brought back nostalgic memories of a character from Ramayana. On hearing the PMs comment, the thunderous applause from a visibly amused treasury bench members out-scaled the decibel level of the continuous hooting from the other side and during the unfolding of this entire drama the Defence Minister remained expressionless and silent to sent a message out that she was a woman first and then a politician.
While the PM had, probably by design, not referred to the Ramayana character, his junior Home Minister was so excited and keen to take the proceedings forward that he posted the video clip of Surpanakha from Ramanand Sagar’s epic serial Ramayana on Facebook lest people might miss the reference. As a follow-up, Renuka Chowdhary put up a motion for breach of privilege against the enthusiastic junior minister. No one knows what would follow.
The Congress, after its recent ‘homeopathic dose’ election victories, is getting aggressive and wants to challenge BJP and is desperate to huddle up with whosoever it can to put together a front to take on Modi. If the opposition got together and agreed to field Lilliput Rahul opposite Gulliver Modi, that would be the last nail on the UPA’s (or whatever the new alliance would be called) political coffin. It requires just about one eye, one ear and the intelligence level of a moron to realise that it would be an absolutely un-equal fight between the two in the ‘Presidential’ nature of elections that would be held. Ironically, the seemingly bright and intelligent Congress leadership seems to think that the party would cease to exist if a Nehru-Gandhi did not steer it officially or otherwise.
This make-belief has become a part of the psyche of the cadres across levels and even the extremely competent and erudite congressmen are victims of this phenomenon. During work hours these high profile Congressmen are seen and heard in courtrooms interpreting complex constitutional principles or addressing elite intellectual groups on some complex economic and political phenomenon at seminars and conferences and as soon as they get into their ‘political attire’ they lose control over their sensibilities and refuse to even think of challenging the relevance of the party’s dynastic leadership – one of whom is well past the ‘use before’ date and the other for whom the ‘use before’ label is not even relevant.
On the other hand, Gulliver, interestingly has worked out a huge political image for himself that finds its basis on the aspirations of millions of job seeking people and his ability to reach out to them with promises which he not even working on and would never be able to fulfil. He, however, has kept them busy admiring his charisma and energy, making them understand his party’s definition of nationalism, imagining a threat to Hinduism and working on plans to avert these.
Someone needs to tell him that he is the Prime minister of the country and people take his utterances seriously and, someday, would look forward to getting things that he keeps on promising endlessly. For being a good PM, a person has to have so many qualities other than being well meaning, honest, a good
speaker, and having successfully mastered some chest expansion exercises.
Modi targeting Rahul seems to be a game plan to promote a weak opponent. His speeches targeted at Rahul give Congressmen and its existing and potential allies an impression that Modi is seeing a challenger in Rahul. Modi, obviously, does not want the opposition parties to forge an alliance which can throw up a real challenger for him. He has picked up this self-indulgent, half baked and reluctant politician from the First Family of the Congress and made him his dummy challenger.
There are two possibilities:
1. The opposition would not come together to rally around Rahul and the
alliance would be a non-starter; and
2. In case Rahul, for some unknown reason, is accepted as the opposition candidate to take on Modi, it would be a cake walk for Modi. The collective capability of the anti-BJP parties is far greater than the BJP but what it lacks is a national level charismatic leader and the ability in the Congress to think beyond Sonia-Rahul combination (and Priyanka for SOS management) and wanting their possible partners to, also, believe in the ‘market’ potential of this combo product. If in the four years that went by, the Congress, instead of – or in addition to – taking Rahul through political training and tutorials, had given a little more space and visibility to others leaders of his generation, it would have been on a higher political pedestal and not be begging for alliance partners.
If Modi is the man to watch in the future and if people are to believe him, he has to behave at least like a national leader – if not a statesman. His Nehru and Congress bashing – one dead for 54 years and the other reduced to 48 seats in the Lok Sabha – is done with the mindlessness of a possessed man whipping a dead horse. Digging into the past is fine but doing that selectively to blatantly derive political mileage is not expected from a person occupying the 7 Lok Nayak Marg Complex.
Modi says “If Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have been the first prime minister of the country, then
entire Kashmir would have been ours,”; but does not realise that someone who would be born five years from now and would become the Prime Minister of India in 2090 could on the floor of the House in Lok Sabha say “India would have been a different country if Advani was not relegated to the Marg Darshak Mandal”.
Practising politicians are not best equipped to interpret history. Since they have mass followers theyrun the risk (unless done by design) of creating a public perception based on mis-understood and mis-interpreted facts and, therefore, should be a little guarded in expressing their views – unless these are endorsed and/or accepted by professional historians and academicians. Napoleon Bonaparte said “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon” and it seems that the BJP strategy is to use its popularity to create a historical version of its own.