Rahul Gandhi seems inspired by Houdini

Rahul Gandhi is no ordinary Indian. He is a member of parliament and for all practical purposes the head of a political party.

Published: 29th May 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2022 11:35 AM   |  A+A-

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Great-grandfather had embarked on his ‘Discovery of India’ and for the great-grandson, it seems, the excitement of the exploratory expedition is so intoxicating that he is constantly blowing wind into the tattered sails of his leaky boat wishing and hoping that the journey never ends. Alas, this is not one of the cases where it may be better to travel hopefully than arrive. The number of proverbial rats notorious for deserting the sinking ship is increasing by the day.

But the tired and bored middle-aged man no longer resembling the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled appears oblivious of the fire raging below the bridge he commands. Truth be told, RaGa seems more inspired by the illusionist Houdini famous for his vanishing trick. He disappears from the scene of action/the battlefield when needed most.

No one can argue that every individual is entitled to his privacy, quality time that must be spent with family and grandma staying in a distant land but when the frequency of short breaks for ‘rest and recuperation’ begins to look like an incurable addiction then the concern of fellow Indians is understandable.

Rahul Gandhi is no ordinary Indian. He is a member of parliament and for all practical purposes the head of a political party. If he insists on playing a significant role in public life, he must be prepared to trade off some of the blissful moments of privacy. Another piece of advice that might help him even at this late stage is that he should resist the temptation to educate the rest of the world about the history of India, our freedom struggle, salient features of our Constitution and problems of the economy. This should be left to better educated and less arrogant leaders—many are around in the Congress Party.

Shashi Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh, Manish Tewari... these names readily spring to mind. But RaGa’s family seems terrified by the prospect of any rising star stealing the crown prince’s thunder.

The man with the anti-Midas touch has single-handedly demolished the Indian National Congress and it’s laughable when loyalists plead that this is an internal party matter. The ‘Mom and Children Store’ suffers from a split personality disorder. Is it a political party or a dynasty on its last legs with its members living in their own echo chambers surrounded by sycophants? 

Maybe Rahul seriously believes that whatever poor Indians have got was gifted by his ancestors. But it is difficult to believe that time has stood still since Rajiv was tragically assassinated. Not one but two generations of Indians have grown up who have no memories of the martyrdom of Indira Gandhi and her well-meaning son. Ironically, whenever Congress spokespersons target Modi-Shah of the BJP as authoritarian tyrants, they are inundated by reminders of the Dark Days of Emergency, anti-Sikh riots and dozens of communal riots and suppression of dissent, erosion of institutions when the Nehru-Gandhi clan was in power.

PV Narasimha Rao and even Dr Manmohan Singh were treated shabbily by Soniaji and a brash RaGa used to exercise power without responsibility. Sadly, Rahul has learned nothing. Instead of taking on NaMo in Parliament, he chooses to criticise the government on foreign soil. His latest faux pas in London underscores the problem. You may try image makeovers like growing a beard one day, opting for the clean shave next, and exchanging kurta for a bandhgala but you can’t acquire gravitas so easily. Sense of entitlement—birthright to rule—is a serious handicap. As long as Rahul or Priyanka strut the stage, the BJP-NDA has nothing to worry about. Opposition unity will remain a distant dream and communal polarisation will continue to play havoc. 

Long years ago, Rajiv had talked of limpets who cling on to perks and privileges. Surely, he had no inkling that his descendants would, in the eyes of many compatriots, fit this description.
Why should anyone in his/her right senses waste breath on the Gandhi-Vadra or aim barbs at them? Isn’t their presence or absence equally inconsequential?

The trouble is that the longer they linger on the political stage easier it is for others to distract people’s attention from real problems tormenting them—inflation, unemployment, and crimes against women, Dalits, minorities and the poor. Breakdown of law and order, the judiciary’s inhibitions to cross the Lakshman Rekha and inconsistent bail orders add to the list of our woes. RaGa’s inept attempts to put an ideological gloss on his utterances can’t redeem him from repeated flounders. 

Navjot Singh Sidhu was handpicked by him to snub Captain Amarinder Singh. Today, the champion of (canned) laughter challenge is serving time as a convict and the joke is on the man who has a well-deserved reputation as the most gifted stand-up comedian in the country. All we can guarantee is that we will not lack tragic-comic entertainment in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha and Presidential elections.

Pushpesh Pant



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