New Delhi: This is nowhere to suggest that Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad is joining BJP, but the manner he was extended farewell as his term ended in Rajya Sabha by no less Prime Minister Narendra Modi could hold out some political meaning.
One – of course – insists such an analogy is too presumptuous as in the words of practising politicians — everything is not politics behind their certain actions or inactions. Prime Minister’s teary farewell to the outgoing Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House of Parliament Azad must be a gesture of courtesy only. And genuinely so, yet again – the air the neta class breathes in or out is also politics.
We are stating all these on the background that Ghulam Nabi Azad had in August 2020 – sort of rebelled against Sonia Gandhi and once snubbed by Rahul Gandhi had also offered to quit.
There is little to dispute that if at all the presumption is correct, it is guided by the fact that an angry Congressman can always be an asset to PM Modi’s political arsenal.
Are the students of politics still to wonder why the Prime Minister had to get emotional and his voice got chocked when he lauded Azad’s Parliamentary contribution and more specifically his stint as the Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir?
Needless to add that, not long ago there was whispering in August last year that Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul duo would seek to make another senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge – a Hindu and also Dalit – the new Leader of the Opposition In Rajya Sabha. This brings us to a basic question – Do the Congress leaders now believe that making a Muslim and a Kashmiri the LoP in 2014 did not help the grand old party. This brings a further important debate — should the Congress party tilt more to the right to embrace the Hindutva ideology.
Ghulam Nabi Azad was furious last monsoon when he heard that Rahul Gandhi had said the letter from 23 Congress leaders on his performance was the handiwork of the BJP. He had offered to quit. The 23 Congress leaders including the likes of Kabil Sibal and Azad among others sought a complete overhaul of the Congress party.
Now let us have a closer look at Congress affairs. As a vote catcher Rahul Gandhi has been a failure. To be out of power is itself a crisis for the country’s oldest party which has always remained relevant only when in power. The same yardstick applies to individual leaders also.
Azad’s tenure in the House of Elders was to end in Feb 2021, but no plans were being drawn in the Congress camp to find him another state. Probably, Azad was getting a signal that he would be opted out!
Azad was made the fall guy! Well, every rebel has a past and yes some future political surprises always remain in the womb of time more often protected in mystery-blanket.
We cannot predict the future, but it is also a fact that Azad is a Muslim and a former Congress Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Any interesting political development vis-a-vis such a protagonist and on the background of Article 370 would be always an interesting phase in Indian politics.
PM Modi’s phrase – “I would not let you retire…..” – a direct message to a senior Congress neta is a catchphrase of the season.