The One Needing Primary Lessons in Politics
Sometimes he’s in Cambodia, sometimes he’s in Indonesia. No one, not even his sister, was aware of her brother’s location on the day of Bhaiya Duj, the occasion when sisters across the country pray for long life of their brothers. The sister waited entire day and finally posted throwback pictures on Twitter. The brother in question is none other than Rahul Gandhi, Congress’ only hope to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
There is gainsaying that the scion of Nehru-Gandhi family is just not fit to run the party. He took a ‘holier than thou’ approach after the defeat in the previous general elections and resigned as the party’s president. He also vowed not to allow any one from his family to take over the reins. But what actually happened was that Rahul spiked all the moves to appoint someone outside the Nehru-Gandhi family and reinstated his mother as interim Congress president. The move clearly indicates that being forced to take a backseat after the poll debacle, Rahul is eyeing a comeback when the situation is favourable. Till that time, his mother will keep the seat warm, so that no one can think of going against the hegemony of the Gandhi-Nehru family within the Congress.
But what is interesting is Congress is showing signs of revival. The party had done tremendously well in the Haryana assembly elections. Although in Maharashtra the party could not match the success of Haryana, it gained two more seats than the previous election’s and in the present situation this is no mean achievement. In Haryana, the Congress’ spectacular show was made possible by veteran leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, whom Rahul himself discarded from state politics in favour of his own man. In Maharashtra, the Congress owes its success to another old warhorse Sharad Pawar, the founder of the Nationalist Congress Party. One should not forget that it was Mr. Pawar who before the general elections virtually pleaded with Rahul to form an alliance with all opposition parties. But Rahul didn’t pay any heed to his advice. These are but a few mistakes that Rahul has made since the beginning of his political career. After the poll results he committed another mistake by not congratulating the party in public.
Rahul’s stubbornness is not only ruining his political career, but that of the Congress too. To be a leader, Rahul has to learn to accommodate divergent views. A leader cannot be termed worthless even if his or her views do not match with Rahul’s. Mr. Hooda in Haryana has proved it. Before Hooda, Rahul was at loggerheads with Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh. Singh too gave a befitting reply to Rahul by wresting power from the Akali-BJP combine in Punjab. Rahul may have some reservations about the old timers in the party. But he should not forget the fact that it was those leaders who served Congress for a much longer period than he did.
The problem gets more complex as Sonia Gandhi is reluctant to offer primary lessons of politics to her son. She is trying to maintain a difficult balance between the old guards of the party and Rahul. It is time now for Sonia to realise that her support will not make Rahul a leader. To be a leader, Rahul must learn the art of accommodating every important leader of the party, and not only his trusted few. Otherwise, it is advisable that he should look for a profession other than politics.