By Arun Srivastava
Who wished Rahul Gandhi on his 51 birthday and who did not has become a hot issue of discussion in the political circle. It might not have acquired importance and raised the index of curiosity if the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not refrained from greeting him. In fact a prime minister is not under any obligation to greet a politician. But Modi not greeting him drew the attention only for the reason that he has been greeting him every year. It was only this year Modi did not extend any such gesture.
This denial no doubt points to the fact that Modi does not think that Rahul is worth to be greeted. It also underlines the anger and hate Modi nurses for him. Modi’s denial certainly could not be put under the category of strained relation between the two leaders. Since the two leaders never had any apparent relation, it could not be described as strained. Through his denial Modi has tried to project Rahul as a person non-grata. For Modi, the Congress MP has no relevance.
But this is the public façade that Modi intends to maintain. His not extending greeting primarily owes to Rahul’s incessant attacks on him over China, the pandemic and other issues. Ever since Modi became the Prime Minister Rahul has been attacking him. But there is no denying that his attacks made no impact on his popularity or dented his image. Modi using the word “pappu” or “shahzada” was primarily aimed at sending the message that Rahul was immature politician, not to be taken seriously and does not speak rational.
But during last three years, particularly during the pandemic, the situation has changed. Rahul coming out with the suggestions or advices, which are eventually appreciated by the intellectuals and academic and which are proving to be correct panacea has rattled him. Pappu has suddenly emerged as his challenger; his suggestions and advices have proved to be major source of consternation for him. Obviously how could Modi nurse soft approach towards this person and greet him on his birthday.
There is yet another cliché behind this move of Modi. After his waterloo in Bengal election, he is sure that the opposition will project Mamata Banerjee as the possible challenger to him. Already poll strategist Prashant Kishor had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar twice to explore the possibility of bringing all the opposition on a common platform.
Rahul could continue to sermon and preach Modi even after coming back as its president but his obsession towards senior leaders is so acute that he is completely in state of trans. What is worse the young leaders on whom he reposed his faith, have turned out to be the bunch of power hungry guys, worse than the seniors. For them ideology has no relevance. It is the power and position that matters most. In this backdrop Rahul is virtually friendless and a loner. some cases Rahul has not at all been concerned to come to the aid of his young leaders in the states. One such example has been Hardik Patel in Gujarat.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has convened a meeting of the party’s general secretaries and state in-charges on June 24 to chalk out a strategy to plan protests against the government on issues such as the hike in petrol and diesel prices. The meeting will also discuss the current political situations. They will give their suggestions for taking on the government and reaching out to the people to highlight its failures.
Rahul has the potential to lead from the front but he has to come out of his self-imposed isolation. He cannot prefer to behalf hearted, while major political developments are taking place and acute dissension is raising its ugly head inside the Congress. Certainly these are not the signs of a good and serious politician. The greetings from Sudheendra Kulkarni, Dear HOPE, happy birthday, a person who was deeply entrenched in BJP politics and had worked closely with Atal Behari Vajpayee and L K Advani simply underlines how much acute and grave has been the political situation in the country. People are in a search of HOPE. Kulkarni’s tweet ought to be taken seriously by him. He added: “There is no doubt that the leadership crisis in the Congress has caused much despair in the Opposition and the country, and Rahul cannot escape the responsibility. He turned 51 today and we all expect him to be more responsible and demonstrate greater resilience.”
The capriciousness of Rahul Gandhi has been his worst enemy. Not only the Congress workers, even a large number of common people admire him for his stand, honesty but are scared of his moves. They are scared of his rigidity. He is aware of the challenges the country was facing but not willing to come back and take charge. This is certainly not the sign of a mature politician. Rahul Gandhi has to emerge in a new avatar to take on Narendra Modi in the coming Lok Sabha poll in association with all other anti-BJP regional parties. He has to be ready for that role with killer instinct. (IPA Service)