Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the Congress party'sgreatest rootless wonder, surpassing Finance Minister P. Chidambaram'sattitude of ?if there is no bread, let them eat dog food,? with the foolish remark that his father would have stood in front of the Babri Masjid to prevent the demolition of December 6, 1992.
As a launch-pad remark for the party'scampaign for the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, it must have struck deep gloom in the rank and file and skewed Congress? already slender chances with the electorate. Though Mr. Gandhi'sremarks are consistent with the policy of UPA chairperson, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, of appeasing and promoting Muslims at the expense of the Hindu poor and backward classes, the policies have already led to a backlash for the party in Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttarakhand, and further reversals are expected in Delhi. Indeed, this is reportedly the reason why Congress president Sonia Gandhi has refused to canvass for the party in the capital, though she did rush to Mumbai because she expected a victory that would add a feather to her cap.
Rahul Gandhi'sstatement shows that either the party has learned nothing from these reverses, or that it has no other constituency to woo. Either way, he has exposed the utter bankruptcy of the grand old party of India. The timing could also not be more unfortunate. Could we, for instance, ask Mr. Gandhi to explain how exactly his father, late Rajiv Gandhi, would have saved the structure by standing before it?
Let us assume that the former Prime Minister managed to personally reach the structure with his personal security guards on December 6, 1992 (for there is no way he would have become Prime Minister in 1991; even the postponed elections did not get the Congress a majority after his assassination). Once the mob broke the cordon and the domes were scaled, does Rahul mean to suggest that the security guards would have started firing upon the unarmed people, like the party'sCommunist comrades just did recently at Nandigram? Is that what has inspired this statement? Having spoken, he owes the nation a fuller explanation for his words.
Rahul Gandhi is the perfect example of how city-bred hereditary politicians, especially ones who pride themselves as being ?above? the hoi-polloi, can fail to connect with the minds and hearts of the people. He exposes the ancient truth that youth without proper education and training can more often than not produce a greater disaster for a nation or society than the old. Rahul has erred in relying upon the old bankrupt formula of wooing Muslims even at the expense of alienating Hindus. Scratching thinly-healed communal suspicions in order to pressurise the Muslim community that the Congress is its only hope, is not the road to power.
Besides his graceless attack upon former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, Rahul has exposed his father'scommunal doublespeak on the issue of the Ram Janmabhoomi. For as is well known, it was Rajiv Gandhi'sgovernment that opened the gates of the Babri Masjid to Hindu devotees, and organised the shilannyas at the site, and even launched the 1991 election campaign from Ayodhya.
And in what is surely a politically suicidal remark, young Rahul has called the 1996 Congress alliance with the BSP a ?complete sellout,? as Congress had to settle for 125 seats, while BSP contested 300 seats. While it may be true that the Congress is still paying the price for this historic blunder, the fact is that the party is far from being in a position to reverse the equation. Indeed, that is why Congress is keen to tie up with the same Ms. Mayawati for a face saving alliance in UP.
Clearly, the Gandhi scion is out of his depth when it comes to analysing the party'sfortunes in the state, nor is he aware of the language to be used when speaking about leaders of other parties. His remark that the dependence of the BSP and Samajwadi Party ?on single personalities was responsible for the deplorable condition of Uttar Pradesh?The state cannot be held hostage to personality oriented politics and the one leader theory has already done a lot of damage to the state? is callow and incorrect.
Ironically, it is the Congress party that depends on one individual (Sonia Gandhi), and is suffering erosion of its old social constituency because of her lack of empathy for the country and its citizens.
The fact is that the politics of fanning communal insecurity has reached its apogee and will no longer bring dividends. This is why wiser leaders like Ms. Mayawati and Yadav are reaching out to broader constituencies and pretending they never had any animosity towards other social groups they now wish to embrace in the race for chief ministership. The Congress today is the only political party that does not wish to recognise the rising Hindu consciousness in India, and is unwilling to woo Hindus as Hindus, a la Ms. Mayawati and Yadav. Rahul Gandhi should tell us if the religious affiliations of his family have anything to do with this.