The PM has come out with yet one more string of his ‘pearls of wisdom’. He has disclosed to his compatriots that he is not above law, and has added generously that he has nothing to hide. The fact of the matter is that he has—after the Parakh bombshell of a letter—nowhere to hide. It’s a bit late in the day to reassure Indians that he was indeed at more than an arm’s length from the Coalgate scam. Or, maybe the Good Doctor is confident that the ‘caged parrot’ true to its form (and DNA) will sing out loud and clear ‘clean chit! Clean chit!’
Even an intellectually challenged kid knows that the investigating agency that has lost all its credibility works under the PM and can’t be expected to do its job freely or fearlessly in this case. The poor man once proud of his khamoshi, more eloquent than reasoned, credible defence against a thousand allegations and accusations, is now constrained to clear his throat to utter or mutter a few explanatory words.
On the other extreme stands and shouts the ‘know all’ crown prince leading the ‘charge of the youth brigade’ in the super-charged election campaign. The ‘gems’ he scatters in his increasingly shrill speeches—elementary lessons in physics or economics—delivered shrieking and shouting to the bewildered crowds are peppered with phrases like kya aap jaante hain? Tumko pata hai? Main batata hoon.
He rolls up his shirtsleeves and in no-holds-barred style characteristic of the man charges the BJP with fanning communal fires, engineering riots and for good measure, tries working the audience to an emotional frenzy—unhone meri dadi ko maar dala, mere pita ko maar diya, wo mujhe bhi maar denge… main maut se nahin darta. (The dastardly murderers remain unnamed and are all painted with the same communal taint. Indira Gandhi was killed by Sikhs sympathetic to Khalistani cause and Rajiv was assassinated by the LITTE cadre. Surely, they can’t be put in the same category. It’s even more ridiculous to link them with communal elements responsible for the murder the Father of the Nation.)
Unfortunately, for the Congress and UPA, the not-so-young man they have anointed as the commander-in-chief of their armies in the electoral battlefield doesn’t only lack administrative experience but also shows that his privileged education has failed to plug many gaping holes at least as far as the Indian reality is concerned. The sweeping condescending remarks he lets fly at his election rallies provide lethal ammunition to the BJP and other opposition parties, and are an unending source of amusement to those who manage to remain awake as the autobiography audiobook is played out by the wannabe game-changing author. The speechwriters seem to be inspired by Bombay potboilers; the imagery is melodramatic—‘the poor peasant dripping sweat on parched earth casting his eyes skyward and dreaming of his progeny flying in an airplane!’ Tup-tup paseene ki boond girti hai—(translation isn’t required, subtitles will do). Rahul seems oblivious of the changes that have transformed India and the world in the years that separate Do Bigha Zameen and Peepli Live! Those who never tire of defending the indefensible keep advising us to forget the abrasive style or the wanton aggression, and to concentrate on the content and noble intent. He means well. Let’s give him the benefit of doubt one more time. Unfortunately, they forget that the road to a very hot place is paved with good intentions. Also, once the lines are delivered, there is nothing to read between the lines. People have stopped asking Rahul Gandhi ko gussa kyon aata hai? The days of the Angry Young Man winning the hearts and minds of the gullible audience are gone. Big B—the original AYM, one time family friend and today persona non grata—was the first to realise this and reinvented himself on the small screen as the host of KBC. The carefully stage-crafted rage results only in outrage. Modi mocks Rahul and retaliates venomously with great effect—“I haven’t come here to shed tears, wail or lament but to help you.”
Youth are the burden of the Congress VP’s song. Rahul repeatedly exhorts them to dream—dream big. What they are waiting for, however, is his vision of India that will enable them to realise their dreams. So far, there are no signs of the Indian youth—either rural or urban—singing his tune. The bitter truth is that while Rahul has been busy undertaking the elementary crash course, Discovery of India-01, he has been catapulted in a position that requires adequate knowledge of Asli Bharat.
The cup of misery for the Congress indeed runs over. Neither the silence of the PM nor the eloquence of Rahul Gandhi seems to have any beneficial effect. It is hurtling towards the precipice unmindful of the perils.