Congress president Rahul Gandhi seems to have decided that the best way to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party and win public approval is to deliver irresponsible accusations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. He is following in the footsteps of Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The Gandhi scion ought to know where such amateurish attempts have landed Kejriwal. The AAP leader is set for an apology spree for allegations he had levelled against his rivals over the course of the last many months. Kejriwal has nothing to lose but Delhi, but Rahul Gandhi has the country to lose if he does not mend his ways.
Perhaps he is buoyed by the setbacks the BJP has suffered in recent by-elections and the belief that the BJP is on a downslide in north India from where it harvested the maximum number of seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. He has the right to feel upbeat, though when closely looked, he has no reason to cheer. His own party candidates lost their deposits in the by-polls in Uttar Pradesh. His address to the Congress’s plenary session on Sunday was nothing but a string of irresponsible statements. He said the Prime Minister was not fighting corruption because Modi himself was corruption. He said the BJP was headed by a person who was an accused in a murder case. He demeaned the nationalist VD Savarkar. He positioned the Congress as the Pandavas and the BJP and the RSS as the Kauravas. All of this was considered as highly ‘inspiring’ by Congressmen and supporters of the party.
One is tempted to agree with Union Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s response that Rahul Gandhi’s was the “rhetoric of a loser”. The Congress president needs to do better. Before accusing the BJP-led regime of promoting crony capitalism, he must acknowledge the scam-tainted regime of his own party, the complete paralysis in policy-making, the loss of investor and people’s confidence etc. While listing the Government’s supposed failures, he ought to admit his own leadership failures too. When was the last time that he had taken his party to a major electoral victory? Punjab was the last big election the Congress had won, and there Rahul Gandhi had practically little role to play; Captain Amarinder Singh had carried the day. Today, he appears ill-suited to lead an anti-BJP alliance, with most regional leaders gravitating towards the possibility of a ‘third front’ that excludes the Congress. Yes, the BJP does face stiff challenges, but Rahul Gandhi may be getting it wrong in believing that the people are looking to the Congress as an alternative yet.