Even before his political career could take off, it seems Rahul Gandhi – the heir to the throne of the Nehru-Gandhi family – has lost. Lost because it seems he is not interested; not interested in taking responsibilities, not interested in working hard; in fact, not interested in politics altogether. Rahul Gandhi seems to have lost the plot. He seems to lack focus. He does not seem to have a plan or an aim. It appears he is just shooting in the dark.
I have written some pieces about Rahul Gandhi earlier as well. However, this one is different; different because this one does not have any element of hope in it. I, like many Congress supporters, have lost all hope from the party and the man who is projected as its leader not by virtue of his talents, but his name.
In politics, being in the opposition can be a blessing many times. All one has to do is cry foul and win the sympathies of the public. Unfortunately, Rahul Gandhi is not even able to do this. How can he when he does some vanishing acts? One day he is seen visiting violence-hit Mandsaur, the other day he is seen holidaying! One day he is seen making big speeches, the other day he is seen sleeping in the Parliament! One day he is seen making promises to farmers and Dalits, the other day he is seen taking off to some foreign locale!
Gone are the days when the ‘Gandhi’ name alone could win votes. In today’s times, people are talking about deliverables. Promises, if not translated into reality, immediately lead to a defeat in the next elections.
Rahul Gandhi’s image could not get any worse from what it is now. He is still seen to be under his mother’s shadow, incapable of taking any independent decisions. Whatever little decisions he has taken independently, have not borne fruits. The latest news doing the rounds is that Rahul Gandhi would not be the face of the party in the next general elections. Sonia Gandhi, again, is seen to be leading from the front. Well, why not? While Rahul Gandhi was busy holidaying, his mother was seen getting the opposition together in her quest to fight the growing powers of the BJP. Recently, at the time of deciding the presidential candidate, it was Sonia Gandhi who was seen running around, not Rahul Gandhi.
It is sad that in spite of being given high posts within the party, Rahul Gandhi is not able to deliver. Some time back, it was Rahul Gandhi who had suggested some steps for democratisation of the Congress party. What happened to that? Instead of seeing some progress on that front, what we see is an elevation of the Gandhi scion! How can the image of the party and Rahul Gandhi improve?
It would be better for Rahul Gandhi to stay away from the limelight if cannot stop being in the news for the wrong reasons. Recently, he had met the Chinese envoy amidst the India-China standoff. Given the mood of the country, he could have avoided this meeting. However, since he had anyway gone ahead with meeting, he could have projected it better. Instead of earning some brownie points by saying that he was trying to work things in favour of our country, his party simply denied it, only to retract later. Really? Wasn’t it naive of them to think that in this day and age of hyper-journalism and mobiles with cameras, there would be no proof of his meeting? All such things tarnish his image even further.
If Rahul Gandhi does not want to live being the butt of jokes, or being trolled on the social media, or not being taken seriously even by his own partymen, he will have to wake up. Wake up not in some luxury hotel in a foreign location, but wake up from his dreamland where he will be the prince forever. He has the potential and the means to do something for the country. He should not let opportunities slip by like he did by not accepting a position in Manmohan Singh’s government. Had he taken some position back then and shown some deliverables, he would not have shared the hashtags on Twitter along with Alia Bhatt as the nation’s favourite joke.
He wanted internal democracy in the Congress party. There will be no better time than now. Instead of holding on to his designation, he can give it away and call for elections. This way, he would be seen walking the talk. Also, he would earn the respect of all like Sonia Gandhi did when she renounced prime ministership in 2004. He has nothing to lose because he can always return to the party once his image is improved. After all, the Congress party can never say ‘no’ to a ‘Gandhi’!
This should in no way be construed to suggest that he can go away on yet another holiday. Instead, he can use this time to work on the ground and deliver on the promises that he has made. It is only then can he stand a chance to stand in front of the BJP, not in the 2019 general elections, but those in 2024! A long way, indeed…If only he has the will!