Will Rahul Gandhi make the Congress irrelevant?

Dissent is the hallmark of democracy, as long as it is not directed at the Congress party. The catastrophe faced by the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections finally woke up the senior leaders from their slumber. They came to grips with the harsh reality that even though the masses rejected, ‘Kattar Soch’ it was that of ‘Parivartantra’ which is now embedded in the genes of the INC.

No matter how hard the young scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family tried to infuse ‘Yuva Josh’ into the veins of the Indian electorate, they sent him packing with an abysmal outcome. But it seems the Congress party has refused to accept the reason of this malfunction: the singularly lackluster leadership of the young Mr. Gandhi.When a senior leader, TH Mustafa, called him a “joker” he had to face the consequences.  Mustafa expressed publicly what every Congressman as well the general masses already knew.

Following the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, when the Congress retained power at the centre the media, self-proclaimed intellectuals and many others gave credit to the leadership of Rahul Gandhi some even going to the extent of wanting to see him as the next Prime Minister. Indeed most newspaper op-eds spoke of how the numerous cadres of the INC became absolutely sure that finally the change (a word made popular by the 44th President of the USA during his campaign) they were so eagerly expecting will become a reality. As time went on, this sense of contentment changed into that of confusion.

The Central Government was seen to be gripped with policy paralysis. The government earnestly believed that giving out abundant doles will keep the people under their spell. Instead of focusing on development, the UPA administration indulged more and more in populism of the worst kind, thinking these nonsensical actions would keep the people resistant from the rising phenomenon of the idea called ‘Narendra Modi’. During this time Mr. Gandhi established himself firmly in the minds of most Indians as an absentee Parliamentarian, a paper-tearer, and an ignoramus. He actually made statements like complimenting Gujarat’s women folks for giving excess milk, empowering Venezuelan women, asking Dalits to attain the velocity of Jupiter among other absurdities.

Still the senior Congressmen made him look like the Messiah for the new generation of Indians, who will in his own words ‘change the system.’

In his time as the vice-president of the Congress party, Mr. Gandhi failed to change one of the most damaging features of the INC: historically vesting all powers–in the hands of the Nehru-Gandhi family. His mother, Sonia Gandhi has the distinction of being the President of the Congress party for ten consecutive terms. This practice goes evidently against Rahul Gandhi’s statement that he is against concentration of power with one person.

But Rahul Gandhi can have double standards, well, because he is Rahul Gandhi. During this year’s Lok Sabha campaign the media as well as our ever-ready intellectuals were scrutinizing each and every statement made by Narendra Modi while letting Rahul Gandhi continue to make bogus claims. Then again they also must have lost their hopes on this young man.

Maybe that is the reason we see extensive debates raging on news networks on the results of the recently held by-polls, since the RaGa bhakts cannot afford to lose any instance to give credit to him even when he is unworthy of it. So boring is the topic of Rahul Gandhi that the charismatic Yogi Adityanath, someone the national media did not even know exists is now the grabber of all the headlines.

Contrast this with the past ten years, when the same folks would praise Rahul Gandhi to the hilt. Each nonsensical word he uttered was presented as great examples of articulacation with one Congress toady even comparing him to Barrack Obama (which is no more a compliment).

But presently the RaGa note has lost all strings, and this understanding has been grasped well by the Congressmen in the southern state of Kerala. According to this report, the ruling faction in the Kerala unit of the Congress censured Rahul Gandhi over his political leadership. But even after this the central leaders are unable to think through what made the Congressmen in the southern state level their rage at the Gandhi scion.  To them even now RaGa is as melodious as ever.

The verdict of 2014 not only damaged the credibility of the INC but also threw a massive challenge to the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family. From the family that gave this nation three Prime Ministers, four based on recent revelations, people did not expect this kind of a ‘leader.’ But somehow the loyalists, both within and outside the INC still think good days are yet to come when Rahul Gandhi will be an effective leader. They give the comparison of Indira Gandhi who was a Gungi gudiya in the beginning but later on became ‘Goddess Durga.’ These people choose to neglect that Indira Gandhi was indeed very active in the party circles and served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as the Prime Minister of India. Can Rahul Gandhi claim anything even vaguely similar?

With such outbursts from one unit of the Congress party followed by constant denial from its central leaders, it seems to most that Congress is going to be irrelevant in the days to come. Those days will arrive sooner than later.