This piece was also run by www.mattersindia.com
Finding similarities between Rahul and his uncle Sanjay Gandhi!
In one of the historic and most crystal clear mandate since 1984, the BJP was handed over a landslide victory. “Politicians would soon run out of adjectives to describe the election outcome….,” wrote my Editor, Ravindra Kumar, for ‘The Statesman’ in his piece the next day.
The ‘Modi wave’ – dismissed by Congress and other regional players like Mamata, Nitish and Lalu Prasad – and which personified the anti-incumbency anguish, swept aside many previous records.
The Congress decimation has turned out to be worst in its 129-year-old history and in the 17th year of Sonia Gandhi’s career. Reduced to mere 44 just 7 seats more than Jayalalitha’s AIADMK and 10 seats more than Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, normally, with any party by now the clamour should have grown on what would happen to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. Efforts have been made to protect the dynasty. Likes of Divijay Singh got into actions. The family retainer or so, Manishankar Aiyar called Narendra Modi ‘Adolf Hitler’ hours before he took over as the Prime Minister.
It’s the same Mani who in January 2014 screamed at the peak of his voice that Modi cannot ever become Indian Prime Minister and that he was free to distribute tea at the AICC session.
Today, Congress leaders in isolation and in separate pockets making noises especially against Rahul Gandhi. Even Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla, a Congressman of many years and a Christian himself, has lambasted the party leadership of the manner it has been handling the defeat.
His eloquent oneliners are more than the normal reactions from disgruntled Congressman.
Lal Thanhawla said the party “paid for its misdeeds” and it “does not know how to face defeat”. He added he has written to Sonia to refrain from blame-game in the party and rather introspect instead. “In that way, the defeat we faced is good for us,” he said.
Now where does this lead to? In my opinion, the Congress leaders’ disgruntlement is more against the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, whose ‘ability’ to deliver for the grand old party is now no longer a state secret.
An honest analysis of 2014 Mandate would make it amply clear that no single factor has contributed more to the downfall of Congress party in these elections than Rahul Gandhi and his flirting with failures.
As an ardent student of Indian elections, I find some similarity emerging between Rahul and his ‘illustrious’ uncle the Late Sanjay Gandhi though as personalities both are from diametrically different stocks.
So has Sonia Gandhi emulated her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi in displaying her unquestionable love for a son, who is today seen as a political liability?
The hapless Kerala Congressman TH Mustafa’s unceremonious suspension is a case in point.
Old timers would vouch with me that on the eve of 1977 elections when Indira Gandhi was cautioned by her coterie members like P N Haksar and Subhadra Joshi, Indira’s response used to be: “Those who attack Sanjay attack me”.
If inside reports from AICC are to be believed, Sonia almost took the same line when at the parliamentary party meeting she pulled up Milind Deora for speaking out of line when the former South Mumbai MP did some plain speaking!
So does it bring us back to the agonizing tale of a mother’s blind for her son?
In 2012, Time magazine had written acidly, "Nobody really knows what he is capable of, nor what he wishes to do should he ever attain power and responsibility. The suspicion is growing that Mr (Rahul) Gandhi himself does not know”.
In one of the best sellers of the time, ‘Decline and Fall of Indira Gandhi’ penned by D R Mankekar and Kamla Mankekar, it was said that only King Edward VIII had perhaps given up his power by keeping his eyes open in favour of the woman he loved. According to the two writers Indira did it for her son Sanjay. So in circa 2014, we have yet again another mother-son tale wherein Sonia Gandhi digging in heels for heralding the destruction of her party and her career just for the love of the son Rahul.
History, they say rightly, often fails to teach lessons to those who should learn it in time.
Between Sanjay Gandhi of 1977 and Rahul Gandhi of 2014 there were few other similarities too. In both the cases the Nehru’s dynastic scions had turned unpopular before the voters. While in 2013 on the eve of
assembly elections, Rahul got the taste of indifferent crowd as Sheila
Dikshit’s impatient plea “aap log Rahulji ka baat sunke jaiye” did not help. Delhi
In 1977 too in Vidisha, incidentally today a BJP bastion, Sanjay had faced an indifferent crowd when he said those who support Janata Party are traitors and asked, how many of you would be traitors, almost the entire audience had raised their hands”.
And not forgetting here; from his uncle Sanjay – Rahul inherited another demerit – they both are very poor public speakers.