By MR Lalu
Between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, who represents democracy in its complete essence and practice? Modi’s personal journey in politics unequivocally presents plenty of testimonies on his growth from the grassroots. Starting his political career as a commoner, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) the organization he represented before he was deputed into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must have taken him through enormous organizational experiments indubitably chiseling his personality. As a BJP worker he progressed tremendously throughout his decades of hard work. And today his premiership is known all over the world as one of the golden examples of a practicing democracy that got a ‘chaiwala’ to the realm of the Prime Minister. Politics for Rahul Gandhi was an inheritance. Born and brought up in the power corridors of India’s politics; he had enough of fame, respect, attention and affluence. Never did India’s democratic impulse throbbed against him as he stealthily grabbed power during the UPA regime. Except for his political lineage, the Gandhi scion was a complete undeserving entrant into the political spectrum of India when it comes to commitment which is an essential prerequisite for an honest politician.
This makes the difference more and more vivid between the leader in Modi and the dynast in Rahul Gandhi. Both represent the same basic democratic framework but in real sense Narendra Modi imbibes the vital essence of democracy for his tuning towards leadership was more genuine and the process was hard. Rahul Gandhi’s access to various power centers and his rise as the heir apparent of the Congress must have invariably blocked the progress of many leaders in his party. Probably this must be the reason why he failed to understand how democracy works in India. Undoubtedly, when he says his Bharat Jodo Yatra was a mirror on which he could reflect the democratic India’s pain and penury; he appears to be dramatically escaping from his ignorance about India’s socio-cultural and democratic essence. Now, as a responsible leader of the principal opposition, everybody in the country would want him to speak facts instead of spoiling the atmosphere with his irresponsible rants. But that is not the case.
His rage on Modi and India should have embarrassed his partymen and some leaders in the opposition. His talk on the ‘craft of listening’ at Cambridge did not bring anything new about the leader in him. His lengthy walk across the diverse landscape of India was expected to ignite in him a distinct version of Indianness. But the foreign land he chose to express his views on India was well aware of the fact that the new India under Narendra Modi government handles all global issues concerning humanity better and its voice is heard across the globe with unprecedented adulation. The most embarassing of all the statements that the Congress leader spelt out to his audience at Cambridge was his narratives on Jammu and Kashmir. A jubilant Rahul Gandhi told the audience that he was really in trouble thinking about the possible terror attack that could have happened on him while he walked on nature’s frozen terrains of the beautiful land of Jammu and Kashmir. He said the terrorists did not kill him because of the power of listening. Making teeny-weeny statements on crucial security issues on an area that remained a flash-point for decades shows his ignorance. While making such ludicrous claims, Rahul Gandhi was formally brushing aside the intervention of the country’s armed forces who could successfully eliminate terror outfits from the valley in the last few years. Undoubtedly, the Modi government’s imaginations to bring about peace in the valley could fructify solidly even though the complexity of the situation would take some time to heal with complete resoluteness.
Now, the issue he raked up in the foreign land does not hold much political significance. His accusations levelled against the present dispensation at the center, holding it responsible for the fall of democracy in India was not at all an embarrassment for a genuine citizen of India who understands the history of the Congress party. For Modi, his commitment towards curbing corruption is known from the day he began to hold the chair. And for Rahul Gandhi, though he is away from holding any party portfolio, his sense of hopelessness from the days of the Modi rise in Indian politics was visible. Modi’s anti-corruption campaign could see many opposition leaders suffocate in uncomfortable situations. Investigation agencies left no stones unturned when it comes to unearthing the sinful past of the parties. This has become a usual affair. Rahul Gandhi’s customary despair has gone deeper into his personality engraving much of his political impulse totally turning against Narendra Modi and India. As the results of the state elections in the three key northeastern states were out, the Congress party’s prominent leader was out in a foreign land to give sermons against India and its government. He couldn’t stay back to chalk out strategies to come out of the pathetic performance of his party. On the other hand, Modi has always ensured his presence to his partymen well before the campaign for the elections began and to the celebration of its victories and to the sworn in ceremonies, the supreme leader of the BJP stayed with his party workers accelerating the momentum of their enthusiasm. He ensures his presence on all occasions, irrespective of the outcome of the elections.
Rahul Gandhi’s vituperation of the present government would pull you through the political hypocrisy of his party. There are various reasons to substantiate the Congress party’s duplicity when it comes to its ostentatious lamentations on the fall of democracy in India under the Modi government. The country is well aware of the four generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family that ruled India in various periods. And to pave the way for a dynasty representative as the party president, the same party had thrown Sitaram Kesari, a dalit out of office. Sitaram Kesari was thrashed out of his seat in a bloodless coup by the henchmen of the Gandhi dynasty who cleared barriers for Sonia Gandhi’s coronation on March 14, 1998. There can be no period in Indian politics that has brutally buried the idea of freedom of expression. The emergency and its ruthless notoriety had been a catastrophe on the democratic essence of India. Political opposition was silenced and forced to go into exile and institutions were pressed hard to asphyxiate and people suffered terrible anarchy under a dispensation that remained power-hungry and almost autocratic.
Rahul Gandhi’s conspicuous insensitivity was not less than a terrible embarrassment to leaders in the political arena. In 2013, Rahul Gandhi, the then Congress Vice President tore into an ordinance that was brought in by the UPA government led by his party. Political immaturity is not a demerit. But to exhibit it with complete insensitivity is harmful. Imagine, if the opposition fury on the Modi government could successfully carve out a unity of the adversaries, India’s pace of development would be thrown into perils and the country would turn out to be a space of political skullduggery and instability. Modi may be a persona non grata for many political parties, but the support he enjoys among the country’s electorate is still well grounded. Obviously, that cannot be a reason for defaming the world’s largest democracy in a foreign land.
(Author is freelance journalist and social worker based in Kerala. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author.)