Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi , who recently turned 50 , has been very aggressive in his comments attacking the Modi government over the face-off with China. The Gandhi scion has been rather unrelenting despite the BJP fuming , on his non- stop jibe at the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular. His latest jibe #surender Modi is among the top twitter trends much to the embarrassment of the BJP.
There no doubt that the opposition has the right to ask the government of the day questions as it is their legitimate right. But matters of national security, territorial sovereignty are sensitive issues hence once needs to be careful while asking them . Here insensitive comments ( should avoiding tweeting as they are likely to be used by rivals in international fora to get back at India) only makes the rivals smile in glee. This where Rahul Gandhi it seems has missed the bus yet again. And makes all wonder why does he ignores the mood of the nation consistently ? And puts not only him but his party in a tight spot.
Now after 20 soldiers were killed by Chinese at Galwan valley of Ladakh , Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of his tweets by writing , PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. These comments comes at a time when the nation needs to stand as one against a deceptive, wily and untrust worthy nation – red dragon China.
That the country needs a strong opposition . Remember when the late stalwarts of the BJP – Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj who were leader’s of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively. They with their forceful arguments on the floor of the parliament and also outside used to put the government on the mat. Congress as principle opposition party needs to do that but not for the sake of opposition even when the country is facing a foreign aggression.
Rahul Gandhi needs to understand that personal attacks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi only enhances his appeal. In-fact it seems he is yet learn a lesson from the the infamous Chowkidar Chor Hai slogan made by him during the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls while hitting out at the Prime Minister on the Rafale Jet deal back-fired badly. Pertinent questions like the floundering economy, why 20 soldiers were killed if no intrusion by China? are very valid questions which needs answer to the nation. Rahul may not be Congress president but his words do count and also puts his party in a spot as to where it stands with the government on a national issue. Where the need of the hour is unity irrespective of serious political or ideological differences . Country first above anything else.
Rajdeep Sardesai in his widely appreciated book – 2019 – How Modi won India has a chapter on Rahul Gandhi aptly titled – An Enigma called Rahul Gandhi where he writes, while discussing about Rahul Gandhi with a senior Congress leader, who tells me , ” Look you must understand , Rahul is not your normal politician . For him politics must bee seen with a long term view, not only in terms of the next elections’ he said . Yet Rahul’s the romanticized world view of a political dreamer. Several members of the grand old party were increasingly exasperated , wondering whether Gandhi was truly cut out for competitive 24×7 politics. As a Congress veteran tells him , ‘ Rahul needs to realize that Modi isn’t Morarji Desai , who will just bend and keel over. If you are playing the waiting game, the party will soon be over!’. The Congress party is defined by access to power and having lost series of elections after the 2014 debacle, party leaders were beginning to wonder albeit in private , if their leader possessed the ability to challenge Modi’s dominant persona.
After poor tally 44 in the 2014 Lok Sabha General Elections , the Congress party could marginally improve their Lok Sabha performance reaching 52 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In 2019 too, before the Lok Sabha Polls , the Congress party ignored the mood of the nation – questioning the air strikes over Balakot after the Pulwama terror attack and paid the price. Now with its repeated criticism of the Modi government in its face-off with China , the party is in grave danger of slipping into political irrelevance. This stance has given the 24×7 news channels the cannon fodder to question party’s nationalism and come out with hashtags like #CongressWithChina, #Congressbetraysbraves
This gloomy scenario was pointed out by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. He had suggested in an interview that the party “ruthlessly” reinvent itself or face the prospect of becoming irrelevant. Another senior leader Veerappa Moily too has called for a “surgical” action to revive the party in the context of the Delhi election drubbing. Ramesh said: “Congress leaders have to reinvent themselves. Congress party has to reinvent itself if it has to be relevant. Otherwise, we are staring at irrelevance. Our arrogance has to go, even after six years out of power sometimes, some of us behave as if we are still ministers,” he said.
Moreover, If the BJP has to countered with force in 2024 General Elections , then a resurgent Congress is a must.
It has to win the public confidence all over again. After all, Congress was the principle party and played a pivotal role during the freedom struggle movement. Nationalism , patriotism were its attributes that it became natural party of governance with a pan – India appeal. It cannot allow itself to drift into political oblivion. That would be catastrophic for a a democracy. There is hope for the hope the Congress though as it still is a pan-India party despite its dip in political fortunes.
Post 2014 Congress party unfortunately has ceded the nationalistic plank to the aspiring BJP. And BJP seeing the crumbling Congress was quick to appropriate Congress leaders like Sardar Patel as their own. With the Congress left licking their wounds. So the onus is on the Congress to re-energise and bounce back .
And Rahul Gandhi with his political statements needs to do a major course correction. If Modi was successful in making people believe in the BJP with charisma and crowd drawing power, Rahul too needs to enact a similar role to make people of India trust the hand symbol ahead of the lotus again. Only time will tell If Rahul is able to do that. Otherwise who knows India may be in line for Modi 3.0.