Congress President Rahul Gandhi did not have to wade into Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) to take potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the expected slide in Gross domestic Product (GDP). The figure stood up to bring out the genius in Rahul: GDP growth expected to be 6.5% in fiscal 2017-2018 compared to 7.1% the previous fiscal.
Remember ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ and ‘Fake in India’? Those were of Rahul Gandhi coinage. Now, he has come up with the ‘Gross Divisive Politics’ or GDP to pin both Modi and Jaitley to the ground.
#Office of RG tweeted “FM Jaitley’s genius combines with Mr Modi’s Gross Divisive Politics (GDP) to give India” new investments down to a 13-year low; bank credit growth down to a 63-year low; job creation down to an 8-year low; agriculture GVA growth of 1.7%; fiscal credit to 8-year high not to mention stalled projects. May be, Rahul got some help from former Prime Minister and economist Manmohan Singh to put all that in perspective but the ‘Gross Divisive Politics’ could be entirely his.
The BJP has been accused by the Congress of playing divisive politics with caste and cow vigilantism; Ram Mandir and triple talaq. The violence after the Bhima Koregaon celebration has also been laid at the door of the BJP by the Congress. The BJP has not had it good in recent months what with snatching a narrow victory from the jaws of defeat in the Gujarat elections and Rahul digging into the BJP’s Hindutva plank with his ‘soft Hinduism’ not to speak of its failure to notch a New Year victory with triple-T.
Prime Minister Modi has been criticised for not having the gumption to hold a press conference and take some hard questions. The BJP also stands accused of fooling the people of India with CM-inaugurations and gala functions one after the other, including the PM as the chief guest at the inauguration of a Delhi Metro line. “Next he will be presenting to the nation a sewerage line in a Delhi slum,” said a wag. “He will continue to score brownie points in this manner till the general elections but he cannot fool all of India all the time.”
Rahul has been a fierce critic of the “unwise” note ban and the “tardy implementation” of GST and has been attacking the BJP with a regularity and intensity not seen before his Berkley performance last year when he said dynasty was what counted in India not demonetization.
The “new Rahul” also started taking the ‘Digital PM’ to task on Social Media with “intelligent and witty” tweets. And he proved to be as good if not better than Modi in making use of witty one-liners such as “Gabbar Singh Tax” and now “Gross Divisive Politics”.
It seems like Rahul is bent on finishing what Modi started – the battle to win the hearts and votes of the common man. The perception battle has well and truly begun and Modi looks like he has been overtaken and is lagging behind by a long yard or two. Modi must be wondering what happened to the “Pappu” he was used to taking potshots at.
Rahul has called GST ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ after the villain in in the cult-classic Sholay. His ‘fake in India’ barb was coined to mock Modi’s pet ‘Make in India’ project which has not been going anywhere ever since launch.
Gandhi’s Saturday tweet comes after the Congress accused Modi and Jaitley of ignoring “economic wisdom” and dealing a “catastrophic” blow to India’s growth. The newly minted Congress president attacked the government for slow bank credit growth and low job creation.
Congress spokespersons have been having a field day at the expense of Modi and Jaitley for stagnation in investment, dismal job creation record, exports in dire straits and unchecked inflation. The last one and a half of the Modi rule looks far too short for the BJP to recover and suddenly the “Unbeatable Mr Modi” looks he can be beatable, after all.
Like a Congress spokesperson said “hype, hyperbole and headline management cannot substitute for grim reality.”
Prime Minister Modi will have to prod Mani Shankar Aiyar to come out hibernation and give him some low talking points to win the perception war by the time another New Year skips by or else it will be curtains for the BJP.