By Sushil Kutty
After the United States dived in, it was the turn of Germany to wade in. Rahul Gandhi’s “disqualified MP” status is bothering both democracies. What Rahul Gandhi’s London remarks could not do, his disqualification from the Lok Sabha did, make both countries sit up and react. Also prove to Rahul Gandhi that neither America, nor the European Union, were ‘oblivious” to the “death of democracy in India”. The coin dropped and both the United States and Germany had heard it loud and clear.
Congress MP Digvijaya Singh tweeted his gratitude to the German foreign ministry, and drew ire from the BJP, which does not know what happens to the Congress when anybody from the Gandhi family is targeted. It happened with Indira Gandhi, and even Rajiv Gandhi. But Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi faced the brunt of the targeted attacks, especially after the 2014 takeover of India by the BJP led by Narendra Modi who has been Prime Minister of India for nearly a decade.
Nobody calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi a dictator. Someone who is friendly with peacocks cannot be “authoritarian”. Yet, there is this tight knot in the chest. The man has a stranglehold on power. His admirers call it ‘swag’. And, then he’s given dark sunglasses! Modi also comes with the label ‘Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it his life’s ambition to uproot dynastic rule from the face of India; especially the Gandhi family dynasty’s rule. The Gandhi family has been at the receiving end of Modi’s visceral hatred for dynast-run political parties for a decade. Long after Modi is history, and the Congress outlives Modi’s utility to the Bharatiya Janata Party, historians will write how Prime Minister Narendra Modi went after the Nehru-Gandhi family, and the Congress, intent on finishing both in one fell swoop.
It is hard to guess which of the two Narendra Modi wants to get rid of more, which of the two is Modi’s preeminent dark muse? The death of the 137-year-old grand old party, or the end of Gandhi family rule? Not only Indians but the world has been hearing of Modi’s cherished dream of a “Congress-mukt Bharat”, which he is now beginning to realize is not as easy as it sounds to accomplish.
Right now, with a slew of assembly elections in 2023 and the general elections of 2024 looming like a dark cloud in the political horizon, Modi’s dream of a “Congress-mukt Bharat” has receded even further; and, with that, also any chances of the Gandhi family taking a backseat. Far from that, the Gandhi family with Rahul Gandhi at the helm has been catapulted to the frontlines of the Opposition’s struggle against Modi rule.
And contrary to what the Modi government expected, the world powers aren’t gonna give Modi a pass because he happens to be the current Prime Minister of the next great global economic power. India will remain the next great emerging global economic power no matter who is Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi; or, for that matter, any XYZ with a majority in Parliament, provided the person is not “disqualified”.
That said, the US and German reaction, while unwarranted and definitely out of place, for which they should be reprimanded in the proper manner by India’s foreign ministry, is a wakeup call for the overbearing Modi government. The Modi government, if it is sensitive to foreign criticism should take care it doesn’t appear and sound insensitive in its behaviour and attitude toward Indian citizens, and India’s institutions.
India’s G-20 presidency makes it doubly important for Modi to stop speaking of political adversaries like they’re “termites” and enemies who should be fought to the death. India’s electoral democracy is big and vibrant enough to handle both the BJP and Congress together and still have room for a couple of more political parties the size of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Prime Minister Modi should stop dreaming of a ‘Congress-mukt-Bharat’ and the end of the Gandhi family rule. Let the Indian electorate decide that. He should know the world is not sitting “oblivious” to what’s happening in Modi’s ‘New India’. (IPA Service)