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The Strange Case Of Rahul Gandhi

27/09/2022 at 9:03 AM

PM Modi

Sutanu Guru, Executive Director, C Voter Research Foundation

Is the Crown Prince all set to revive the Grand Old Party to take on the BJP Juggernaut or will he “preside” over its disintegration?

This author remembers reading a book called The Strange Case of Billy Biswas in the late 1970s. The protagonist Billy Biswas is part of the English-speaking ruling elite, marries a lady from a similar background and goes on to “serve” in the tribal areas of what is now called Chattisgarh. He dreams of “civilising” the savage tribals. But something strange happens. He gives up “civilisation”, becomes a tribal and disappears. The story has a tragic ending when Billy Biswas is shot dead during an attempt to bring him back to the fold. Billy Biswas didn’t fit. There is another more famous book called The Razor’s Edge by well known author Somerset Maugham. The protagonist is Larry, a rich white American with all he privileges and a fiancée that fits the mould. But Larry doesn’t fit. At the end of the book, Larry abandons it all and travels to India in search of spiritual salvation.

So which character resembles the “amiable”, “well mannered” and “genially smiling” perpetually putative prime minister of India Rahul Gandhi? Probably both the protagonists don’t resemble the fifth generation dynast. But there is a sense of surrealism about Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party; a sense of a farcical theatre being enacted where the script veers off into comical interludes or side shows as it does in childish Bollywood comedies. It would be a hysterical comedy were the consequences not so tragic for Indian polity. The author has repeatedly asserted that a strong Congress is important to keep a dominant BJP on its toes. Yet, through direct and indirect moves, Rahul Gandhi seems determined to destroy the party and take it towards oblivion.

About two weeks ago, when Rahul Gandhi embarked on his Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, this column argued while this was a good move, it was not enough for the Congress to pose a serious challenge to Narendra Modi in 2024. The author was confident that another column on the Yatra would be relevant towards the halfway mark of the 150 day Yatra. Not to be. Within days of the launch of the Yatra and the resounding reception in Kerala, 8 of the 11 MLAs of the party in Goa deserted the party and joined hands with the BJP. These MLAs had sworn on their Gods in temples, churches and mosques and promised to Rahul Gandhi that they would remain Congress MLAs if elected for at least five years. No such luck. Congress sympathisers complained yet again about the BJP using bags full of money to “buy” opposition leaders. Perhaps they have a point.

But the day (September 25) the Congress Legislature Party was to meet in Jaipur to “elect” a successor for Ashok Gehlot who seemed to have reluctantly agreed give up his post as chief minister to go on to become Congress president was a disaster. There seemed to be a consensus that Rahul Gandhi had “instructed” Gehlot to make way for Sachin Pilot who has been stoically tolerating repeated humiliations inflicted on him by Gehlot. But the CLP never happened. Instead, 92 Congress MLAs huddled in a minster’s house in Jaipur, swore undying loyalty to Gehlot, marched to the residence of the Rajasthan assembly Speaker and “submitted their resignations” as MLAs. All this while Sachin Pilot and two “observers” sent from Delhi were twiddling their thumbs. There was a clear message coming from this unexpected revolt to Rahul Gandhi: we will not accept your choice Sachin Pilot as chief minister. Never before has a Gandhi been snubbed and humiliated so publicly. To top it all, Congress sympathisers cannot cry foul and say the BJP has “purchased” the 92 rebel MLAs.

The author doesn’t know what the end game of this latest crisis confronting Rahul Gandhi will be. Can Rahul Gandhi now trust Ashok Gehlot as his party president? Will a repeatedly humiliated Sachin Plot join a long list of Congress leaders who joined the BJP? Will Rahul Gandhi accept the chorus of demands from Congressmen and retake the post of Congress president? Who knows what will happen? Sadly, it wont matter. The fact is: Rahul Gandhi simply doesn’t possess any leadership quality worth talking of. His instinctive immaturity and sense of entitlement was on display yet again during a press meet in Kerala. His fans loved the show, but it was cringe worthy. A young NDTV reporter asked Rahul Gandhi a question. With his trademark smirk, Rahul taunted the journalist by saying: Don’t you have a new owner? (He was referring to a Gautam Adani company taking over NDTV). What did the poor young lady reporter have to do with Adani? And wasn’t it a tacit admission that NDTV was a Congress channel till Adani swallowed the channel?

Does a serious leader display such an immature and childish temperament?

About the Author:

After his master’s degree in economics, Sutanu Guru has been a journalist for more than 30 years in media outlets like Times of India, Economic Times, Business Today, Business World, Business India & others. Currently, he focuses more on research and writing.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.

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