Beyond the return of the prodigal

Will Rahul’s presence make as much news as his absence did?

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | April 17, 2015 | New Delhi


#rahul gandhi   #congress   #rahul gandhi leave   #rahul gandhi sabbatical   #rahul gandhi returns   #rahul returns  


Rahul Gandhi’s disappearance and reappearance have led to much discussion and debate. That is surprising, because he is a leader far outshined by his mother, in a party far outshined by Modi’s strident BJP. In other words, the leader No 2 of the party No 2 does not carry as much weight as it seems to a large section of Congress workers.

If his absence could have a serious national impact, the UPA 1 and 2 governments would have had a different destiny, the 2014 results would have been different. If Rahul could learn political lessons and rejuvenate the party – as many expect him to – the Delhi results, in the least, could have been a bit different.

READ: From Rahul Gandhi’s reflection to enlightenment of Congress

He seems to be in the wrong profession, going by his critics. His mysterious sabbatical (and more importantly, the lack of any explanation for it) is the final pointer to his lack of readiness to plunge full time into the hustle and bustle of politics. In that case, his reappearance should have as little impact on national life as the 56 days of his unexplained leave.

This critical appraisal, however, is superficial. The grand old party is the natural habitat for palace conspiracies. What rumours and whispers narrate is this: Rahul has charisma to lead, if not India yet, at least the demoralised Congress workers, and he has been waiting for a free hand to deliver. But Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the party old guard are not yet ready to relinquish power to him, and he, in turn, is sulking, which also explains his leave of absence. Going by this theory, he would have fought national and state elections differently, but his role was limited to road shows.

READ: Rahul Gandhi back from sabbatical, trends on Twitter

It is difficult to figure out the potential of a man whose whereabouts for close to two months are a mystery – as much as his views on most matters of governance are. But this much can be safely said: he has the charisma and chutzpah to emerge as the challenger if and when Modi starts faltering.

Call them gimmicks, but his “discovery of India” trips with food-sharing and night-stays with the marginalised showed he was prepared to think beyond the politics-as-usual. Systematic clean-up of organisational elections was a rare and welcome move, even if its natural follow-up at the national level of his party will remain pending. Tearing up an ordinance of the government-led by his own party was, of course, a tad juvenile but his theatrics has takers. In short, he is what the US media once called Obama: a work in progress.

Can he realise all the potential he has as the leader No 2 of the party No 2? We will not have to wait long for the answer: on Sunday, he will lead his party’s protests against amendments in the land bill. This also happens to be an area where he has some track-record, with his Niyamgiri and Bhatta-Parsaul visits. This is also an issue on which the Modi government is on defensive, though the Congress and the allied opposition are yet to go on full offensive. The rally is only a start; Rahul will have to show his political acumen inside parliament, and in bringing the opposition together. If he can prove himself in this battle, then all the brouhaha over his absence will be worth it.

Comments

 

Other News

Rs 1,514 crore already spent on cleaning Yamuna

 The major reason for high level of pollution in river Yamuna is inadequate flow due to over extraction of surface and ground water and discharge of untreated effluent, union minister Vijay Goel informed the Lok Sabha on Monday. He said the water resources ministry is supplementing the effor

No central government scheme to run endlessly

 Centrally sponsored schemes will now onwards run for a fixed period of time, thanks to a sunset date. An outcome review will also be carried out.   In public policy, a sunset clause means that it shall cease to have effect after a specific date, unless further legislative/a

What India needs to do to finally become a superpower

For the past 25 years, India has been rising in stature. It is continually called an upcoming superpower but has been unable to reach the promised status. India’s importance in the world is more due to its immense population and potential as a market than any objective assessment of development. Indi

Would keeping an army tank at JNU instil nationalism?

Would keeping an army tank at JNU instil nationalism?

Yogi in politics, TN industries shift base and, how to end the Maharaja’s misery

Everyone in Yogi Adityanath`s office declares that Yogi’s political career is founded on the work carried out from there, first when he was mahant of the influential temple, and then as an MP. Vijendra Singh, who works at the office, says “It’s because of these letters that Yogiji has n

A fifth of Rs 29 lakh crore are NPAs

Banks have advanced a staggering Rs 29,46,060 crore to the industrial sector, of which Rs 6.93 lakh crore are non-performing assets (NPAs).   Finance minister Arun Jaitley informed





Video

कश्मीर पर तीसरे पक्ष की मध्यस्थता स्वीकार नहीं - महबूबा

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter