Has Congress lost the plot? Apparently not completely! But to some extent, yes! Watching Congress patriarch Sonia Gandhi and her son, Congress president Rahul Gandhi cleaning plates in Wardha recently makes one wonder whether the change of heart is not because of PM Narendra Modi!
Frankly speaking, one has never seen either of the mother-son duo doing anything even remotely ‘normal’ or ‘average’ like cleaning plates, sweeping streets, serving food ever since they chose to come into public life. The last image of normalcy that can be equated with what commoners do, as far as Sonia Gandhi is concerned is she enjoying ice-cream with her late husband, former PM Rajiv Gandhi with India Gate as the backdrop.
As for Rahul Gandhi, as far as I remember, apart from the usual fumbles that he commits while delivering his public speeches, there is nothing normal that I’ve seen him do. Some of you, my readers, may contend that Rahul’s video of his dog ‘Piddi’ may be an instance. But in my frank and humble opinion, that was childish!
Again, this is not to say that the Gandhis are not a normal family or individuals. They must be, for sure. They must have a bad hair day, they may fall sick of common cold or constipation, they may clean dishes at home, definitely! But seeing them cleaning plates at Wardha on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, one can’t help but feel amused as to the reason behind this step. Also, don’t miss two men (or is it the same man, not sure!), each standing next to both the senior and junior Gandhis, with a glass of water in hand. He is seen lending a helping hand to the duo as they clean their plates. What is that about! Moral support!
As it is, there are very few instances of our present-day politicians doing something remotely connected to the common man. After all, getting elected even as a one-time councilor to the local body, entails a life of luxury and comfort for the public representatives and their family & friends too. Why would one need to do a common thing in public? But as we see, hear and read in our newspapers, TV channels, social media network, the Maha-gathabandhan is coming together to beat Modi and to achieve their goal, our leaders would do just about anything, even if it means cleaning their own dirty plates!
Another example of Congress’ struggle between hegemony and survival is its call to ‘oust BJP’ that it gave from its CWC meet in Wardha, in chaste hindi too, which goes like “BJP Gaddi Chhodo”. Roughly translated, it means BJP should leave the chair or governance. One may be tempted to ask whether Congress believes in the democratic system of governance or not? If it does, then how can it give a call like this, where a party, after winning a clear-cut majority in polls, has come to power and should be allowed to do so uninterrupted for, at least, its full term. In asking BJP to give up power, Congress is not only insulting the majority who voted BJP to power, but is also trying to bully the democratic structure of the country.
Ever since the party came to power in 2014, leaving Congress high and dry in the electoral wake, it seems the latter is finding it extremely hard to digest the result. Not a single week has gone by without Congress raking up one issue or the other, in its attempt to discredit the government, particularly the PM. More naïve individuals may consider this as the ‘dharma’ of Opposition, after all, that is what BJP has been doing during its longer play at Opposition benches inside the Indian Parliament. But there is a major difference, Congress is beginning to sound desperate in its attempt at getting back at Modi and his Cabinet. While speaking about the shortcomings of the ruling party, Congress has started to come across as a kid, who just wants the batting for himself, without giving the other person a fair chance at the crease! We all have encountered that bully while playing gully cricket, haven’t we!
The best course of action for Congress, after its disheartening performance in Lok Sabha Polls 2014, would have been to sit responsibly on the opposition side and speak out for the public, with conviction and confidence. Instead, it has gone after the government, lock, stock and barrel, in the most unconvincing manner, with each of its attack fizzling out in the end. Be it demonetization, GST, NRC, foreign policy, Indo-Pak relationship, or the latest rabbit out of the hat, Rafale – for every single issue, the Congress has tried to throw as much mud as it can at BJP ministers, but, seriously, not much has stuck in the end. And the fact that Rahul Gandhi has not really made a mark in public speaking, even 14 years since he made his first foray into public space with elections in 2004.
The call from Wardha asking the BJP to quit, along with the cleaning of dirty dishes, may well be the final assault to take on Modi in the 2019 polls. But will it fetch results! I cannot imagine it will. I am not batting for Modi either. India is a healthy democracy, despite its many limitations, so whoever gets the majority votes will form the government. So, whichever party manages to convince the electorate will come to govern again but will Congress be that party? It is hard to imagine, considering the current state of affairs within and outside the grand old party. Cleaning dirty dishes may just be a case of ‘too little, too late’ and, worse, it may be taken as a step inspired by Modi himself. Rahul’s nemesis is not going to go quietly, not in 2019 at least. So, whatever trick the Congress president has up its sleeve in the coming months of election, it better be an original, otherwise, he will end up being on the bench, yet again.