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Rahul Gandhi is beginning to sound like Donald Trump & Opposition needs to re-assess his utility

Charu Kartikeya | Updated on: 5 June 2017, 18:26 IST
(Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Congress party's eternal vice-president has decided to let lesser mortals in on his little secret.

All of those people who have been wondering when Rahul Gandhi would finally take up the party's presidency and launch a real battle against a resurgent BJP – now know what he has been up to.

While the BJP has been busy winning polls, grabbing power even without winning polls, unleashing the brute force of the state against opposition leaders, launching big media outlets and running a massive propaganda machinery, Rahul Gandhi has been busy reading the Gita and the Upanishads.


So cute.

Gandhi thinks this is the best way to take on the BJP-RSS combine. And he has just started.

So Congressmen and possibly the entire Opposition, given Congress' status as still the largest national opposition party, will have to wait for him to finish reading the scriptures and then follow up.

His shock after realising that Sangh Parivar members do not follow what the scriptures say indicates he is only beginning to realise that they only pursue their agenda in the name of these texts.

At this rate, it will take more time for Gandhi to realise how exactly do they do that – which puts him at a great disadvantage because they started over 90 years ago.

It is 2017 and the Sangh Parivar is at the stage of perfecting its strategies.

There are three problems with the Congress scion's latest approach.

First, he entered politics in 2004 and in a highly privileged position. Even though the coalition led by his party came to power that year, he did not enter the government and kept his role limited to being a parliamentarian and working for the party.

Between then and 2014, the fateful year when his party was reduced to a historic low of only 44 seats in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi has had a full decade to prepare himself for fighting his adversaries.

How is it that he didn't think of reading the Gita and the Upanishads in this period, even if it was only to counter the BJP and nothing else?

It is hard to believe that this is the great-grandson, and the chief-claimant of the legacy, of the man who wrote treatises like The Discovery of India and Glimpses of World History in jail.

The second problem is Rahul Gandhi's misplaced faith in religious scriptures as potential guide-books for countering the BJP.

How can the Gita help him, for example, in lifting the Congress party's organisation from the state of dilapidation that it is in right now?

How can the Upanishads tell Rahul Gandhi how to devise effective communication strategies to outsmart the propaganda wizards of the BJP's present leadership?

He probably realises that his party is at its lowest point in history at a time when the country is slowly being overtaken by a poisonous ideology. Given that context, has he turned to the scriptures in an act of desperation?

If yes, then what's next? A renunciation of the world and a retreat into spirituality?

Third, and the biggest, problem is that this statement reasserts the popular impression about Rahul Gandhi – that he is still far away from what it takes to be a leader, much less the leader of the party once known as the natural party of governance in the world's largest democracy.

Look at the amateurishness that he conveyed at the event in Chennai where he made this statement. He also spoke on Tamil Nadu politics and his speech ought to have carried messages to the party cadre to help revive their flagging fortunes in the state.

Instead, he ended up saying that “he has decided to start watching Tamil movies”, and “read about the culture of Tamil Nadu people”.

That statement is silly at so many levels.

The Congress was the dominant force in Tamil Nadu till the late 1960s and half a decade later, the party's would-be chief, all 47 years of age, is saying that he doesn't know the state.

And not just that, he is also saying that he will still take some time to understand the state because he has just started. And even this process of acquaintance is going to be primarily through movies and some reading material. What does he think is at stake here, electoral politics or a holiday trip?

And what does he even intend to signify when he says that “sent an SMS” to his sister and told her that he loved going to Tamil Nadu?

Who says that? What does his love for merely visiting Tamil Nadu and then telling his sister about it got to do with the strategy for Congress party's revival in the state?

Doesn't he realise he sounds absolutely phoney when he says, “I don't know...some how I feel very connected to Tamil people”?

He didn't stop there and went on to make himself sound like Donald Trump, which is really the last thing that he needs.

“I wrote (to Priyanka), I love Tamil, Tamils. She wrote back I love them too,” said Gandhi, in a statement reminiscent of Trump's “I love Hispanics!” tweet.

It is deeply tragic for the Congress party as well as other opposition parties that a time when they are discussing contours of a united political offensive against the BJP, their proposed leader is busy with personality development.

If Rahul Gandhi does not catch up fast, either the Congress party should dump him or the Opposition should dump the Congress.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 5 June 2017, 18:24 IST
Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

Assistant Editor at Catch, Charu enjoys covering politics and uncovering politicians. Of nine years in journalism, he spent six happily covering Parliament and parliamentarians at Lok Sabha TV and the other three as news anchor at Doordarshan News. A Royal Enfield enthusiast, he dreams of having enough time to roar away towards Ladakh, but for the moment the only miles he's covering are the 20-km stretch between home and work.