By Sushil Kutty
Okay, now we know who the next Prime Minister of India will be: A 47-year-old who has an aged grandma in Italy and tonnes of fans in Singapore, a man so steeped in Hindu mythology, he knows the Mahabharata from the Kaurava to the Pandava, and he can tell which Gujarati surname spells corruption and which fathered the nation.
We also know that a hitherto unknown variety of Hindu, nicknamed ‘Congress Pandit (CP)’, stood Congress President Rahul Gandhi against a temple wall and told him he will be Prime Minister of India, and another hitherto unknown sort of Hindu priest, called the ‘BJP Pandit’, pointed to the temple dome and told Rahul to inlay it with gold after he becomes PM!
CP also told Rahul not to miss Church on Sunday and Mosque on Juma (Friday) for it requires both Sultan Saladin and King Arthur to beat the Unbeliever. There is a Crusade at hand, and another Mahabharata has to be fought in the land of Kurukshetra, which stretches from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. That is twice-endorsed advice to the twice-born Janeoudari. In Rahul’s world, the Hindu punditry is divided but the Muslim clergy and the Christian priesthood are not.
Thus, there cannot be any more questions asked on whether Rahul is Hindu, Christian or Muslim – he is all three rolled into one. Vote one, get two free! Great marketing of a party-in-decline’s dream on the eve of a no-trust vote against the believed-to-be fading yet formidable star Narendra Modi.
At the AICC Plenary in New Delhi on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi blew his own trumpet and the Congress Party sounded the bugle for the 2019 general elections. Laying out the red carpet, Laughter King Navjot Singh Siddhu did an Arvind Kejriwal. Sardar to Sardar, he apologised to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and told him he was “Asardar”, meaning effective Sardar, even when he had kept mum as a mummy in the Pharaoh’s tomb when he was PM. As a BJP MP, Siddhu had once called MMS “Asardar,” meaning ineffective Sardar!
And to remind MMS What-was-app, Siddhu ended with the high note that “Rahul Gandhi will unfurl the Tricolour from the Red Fort” in 2019, come what may. Manmohan Singh, if he becomes third-time unlucky and is propped up PM by Sonia Gandhi, will prove not only Rahul Gandhi and CP KP wrong, he will also pronounce Siddhu ‘Asardar’, meaning ineffective Sardar!’
Earlier in the morning (Sunday), Manmohan Singh had stuck a Kirpan in Modi’s underbelly, his J&K policy, calling it a failure from head to Poonch! And if Singh’s ceremonial dagger struck where it hurt most, on a day when five of a family were killed in a Pakistani ceasefire violation, Sonia Gandhi’s trenchant blade went in deep as she equated Modi’s ‘dramebaazi’ to the failure of Modi’s policies. Then, finally, at the end of the Sabbath, Rahul put his incisive tongue to use to deliver a thousand cuts to Modi and Amit Shah, branding one corrupt and the other a ‘murder accused’.
It was a new Rahul Gandhi on display at the Plenary, far removed from the one who sat out a turbulent inquisition in Singapore. There, he was in an academic setting, completely lost and at sea, here he was quite in home-ground, homework done and lessons learned – ‘If I’m to be PM, I’ll need the Hindu-nod and the Muslim-vote.’ Rahul Gandhi identified the ‘CP’ as a ‘KP’ – code for Kashmiri Pandit, who wanted anonymity more than publicity. The KP-CP was the one who told Rahul to go to church and to the mosque while on the temple run if he wanted to run for PM.
No wonder Pandit Rahul Gandhi on Sunday was a revelation – at his most scathing best and tongue deep in cheek. Dimple gone but the Bobby still in him – older, wiser and with a touch of the Gallows humour (Amit shah ‘murder accused’). With mom-n-party in full attendance, The Gandhi posed the question “What does the name Modi mean?”, and then provided the answer: “Modi gives (Nirav) Modi Rs 30,000 crore of your money and, in turn, Modi gives Modi money for marketing Modi and fighting elections. It symbolizes the collusion between India’s biggest businessmen and the PM.” Karma explained, what goes around comes around!
To add to the flights of fancy, the mythology, the jet-setting Gandhi singled out the Rafale deal to cut Modi to ribbons. “Forget fighter planes, you can’t trust such a man to buy vegetables. Modi is not fighting corruption, Modi is corruption.”
If Chaiwalla to Bhaajiwalla is promotion, the BJP did not buy the bitter-gourd. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, for whom Rafale is her plane and who the BJP fields to dive into muddied waters whenever the Congress goes overboard, trashed Rahul’s diatribe against the BJP as the “rhetoric of the loser”, neither here nor there but everywhere.
And Rahul Gandhi was indeed here, there and everywhere. With a flair for ‘dramebaazi’ worthy of Modi’s own, he compared the BJP to the Kauravas, “designed to fight for power”, and his own Congress to the Pandavas, “designed to fight for truth”. If that struck as odd, forget it, for if anybody is fighting for power, it is the Congress, whether the party is designed for the battle royal or not. Rahul Gandhi on Sunday was all topsy-turvy, to the extent of saying that when people at Rahul’s rallies start chanting “Modi-Modi-Modi” it is to spur Rahul on to become Prime Minister of India.
And the Congress is convinced Rahul will be PM provided the rest of the opposition falls in line and the machine doesn’t come in between. “To those who challenge us, I would say… as of now we have won bypolls under leadership of Rahul Gandhi, soon you will see us winning states and in 2019, Congress will win the (general) elections,” said Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot at the plenary, to which Jyotiraditya Scindia added: “Even if there is an iota of doubt about electoral process among the people than we should actually revert back (sic) to ballot (paper) from the EVM system.”
On the eve of the no-trust move of TDP and YSRCP and on the heels of the SP-BSP transfer vote triumph in UP, the Congress wants to remind the rest of the Opposition that the Congress will not settle for anything less than “Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi”. The message is loud and clear to Mamata and Mayawati, Akhilesh and Sitaram even if directed to Modi and Shah. (IPA Service)