The result of the No Confidence Motion in Parliament on July 20 has shattered the hopes of forming an anti-Modi front for 2019. The voting pattern clearly indicated that Rahul Gandhi’s ambition of being the knight exemplar of an oust Modi charge and Mamata Banerjee’s pipe-dream of leading a “federal front” as an alternative to Narendra Modi have been seriously compromised.
The revamped Congress Working Committee—living in a time warp even after having shed some of its old baggage— however, continues with its insistence that Rahul is the natural leader of a grand alliance aimed at unseating Modi. Such an attitude reflects the brazenness and arrogance that has been the hallmark of the Congress’s first family and stems from its belief that it alone has the sole right to rule India. Steeped in this arrogance, Rahul has, in the last five years, debased the party’s level of political discourse, misdirected its actions and has led it astray by extending its umbrella of patronage to anarchists and to those who have time and again called for India’s dismemberment. Incapable of evolving a credible narrative that can take on Modi, lacking a cohesive action plan that can emerge as an alternative to Modi’s vision of “New India”, unable to bog him down in the marshes of shallow tokenism, Rahul is becoming increasingly belligerent.
The Congress’s support of the preposterous demand that Sharia courts become the norm for the Muslim community, the Congress’s refusal to support the abolition of the feudal Triple Talaq practice, its constant effort to generate tensions among caste and communities by supporting groups and elements who operate at the fringe, increasingly shows that it is taking recourse to reactionism and communalism to buttress its political chances.
Some of its leaders continue with their insult of Hindus by blaming them for trying to create a “Hindu Pakistan”, while Rahul himself continues with his efforts at compromising India’s national security and her relations with friendly foreign countries who have stood by India during challenging times. Let us recall that it was France in 1998, among the few nations, which had supported India’s nuclear tests and opposed the clamping of sanctions on her.
Rahul’s utterances in Parliament, describing an imaginary conversation with the President of the French Republic, and then resorting to untruth in the name of the French leader, has left the thinking members of the diplomatic and strategic community in a state of deep shock. Not that they expected anything better from him, but the fact that he could, in such a blasé manner, lies in the name of the leader of a foreign government and that too on the hallowed floor of Parliament raises serious doubts on his leadership abilities.
Let us leave aside for a while the hyper theatrics that he indulged in during and immediately after delivering his speech in Parliament—a speech which was devoid of everything except elements of drama sprinkled with a false cock-surety. Let us leave aside his insulting wink, these are perhaps the result of a stunted mind, but the manner in which he resorted to untruth on the sensitive Rafael issue is cause for grave concern, especially for those who have India’s national interest in mind and possess a healthy optimism regarding the future of her polity.
Even if we were to accept his deep filial bonds with arms dealers such as the late Ottavio Quattrocchi, such behaviour remains unexplained and bodes ill for the future of our political climate. It is time for right thinking citizens to take a stand.
Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation
Follow him on Twitter @anirbanganguly