BJP’s image dims with economic disruption; Rahul’s image glows with US tour. This is Sonia’s chance to score big

By TJS George

The Congress Party published full-page advertisements in New York to announce a Rahul Gandhi meeting there. It made history by including, alongside the pictures of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira, Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, those of Lal Bahadur Shastri and P.V. Narasimha Rao. Shastri was never recognised during the Sonia years while Narasimha Rao was actively ostracised. To give the non-person that was Rao all these years a place now in the galaxy suggests something of an internal revolution.

Is there one? Is the Congress finally acknowledging the need to re-invent itself if it is to have an address in Narendra Modi’s India? Rahul Gandhi’s American tour was itself a pointer to the party’s willingness to do new things. It was essentially a tour of intellectual America by a man considered uniquely unintellectual. Apparently he made efforts to catch up. Early photographs showed him in Silicon Valley flanked by IT wizard Sam Pitroda, author-diplomat Shashi Tharoor and savvy Mumbaikar Milind Deora, all practitioners of the Kalam art of igniting minds.

Whether it was their influence, or the bracing holiday weather of California, or the compulsions imposed by Modi’s relentless march, Rahul Gandhi rose to unexpected heights, impressing university crowds that are usually hard to impress. The key tactic was to compliment the enemy where necessary and to acknowledge mistakes on his own side. He praised Modi’s communication skills and also his Make In India programme. The focus of this policy, he said thoughtfully, should be on small and medium businesses which do not get access to finance and the legal system. If this was done, Make In India would be a powerful idea, said Rahul. Frank, balanced, informed.

He was just as frank when he said that the Congress Party had developed “a certain amount of arrogance” at one time, that some concepts of UPA-2 had use-by date ten-years-old. The only off-colour remark was that dynasty “is the way India runs.” That’s not the way India runs right now. And it’s fatuous to compare private industrial dynasties with contrived political dynasties. That slip-up apart, Rahul’s American tour was a success. This was proved when Smriti Irani was scared into calling him “a failed dynast.”

However, Rahul’s success in the US is unlikely to help him or the Congress. The big problem that makes rejuvenation hard for the Congress is the internal fight between the old generation and the young. This is a unique Indian problem. In civilised democracies Presidents and Prime Ministers serve their term, then leave it to others. Obama is still young and active, but he is not manoeuvring to become President again.

In our country, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati still imagine that the nation needs them. Lalu Prasad, discredited and legally debarred from public office, is convinced that Bihar and India itself will be the poorer without his services. Oommen Chandy, caught in a maze of scandals that brought humiliation to his party, insists on serving the people. Political leaders never see what others see.

In the Congress, Rahul Gandhi brought in some new faces. Some of them were miserable failures, like Arun Yadav in Madhya Pradesh. But some did well, like K.C. Venugopal who replaced Digvijay Singh as the in-Charge in Karnataka. (Digvijay Singh and before him Gulab Nabi Azad had contributed mightily to the devaluation of the Congress in Karnataka because they became patron saints of the State’s corrupt Congressmen).

Rahul will be unable to move forward unless he takes a good chunk of the veterans with him. Veterans who still have clout must be in, like Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh. Those with poor track record must be sidelined, like Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan. State-wise, personalised adjustments, patiently canvassed and carefully implemented, can give the Congress a new look, essential for a new future.

Rahul Gandhi cannot bring this about. Sonia Gandhi can because the old guard is beholden to her. She can make them accept a restructuring by telling them that without the infusion of some new blood and new thinking, the Congress will sink. This is perhaps the only chance she will get. The gap between words and deeds under the BJP Government’s dispensation, the many policy breakdowns of recent years and the economic dislocation that has become too serious for the Government to hide have created a situation where the BJP is no longer the unstoppable force it seemed at first. By uniting the old guard and the younger leaders who have proved themselves, Sonia Gandhi can make history in 2019. This is her moment.

tjsoffice@epmltd.com

www.tjsgeorge.inf

View Comments (5)

  • Who is the TJS George..??? Declaring RG's Stupid tours as a great sucess.. !!! Looks like he is another Vatican dynasty boot licker..

  • Rahul's visit to USA is like the dip in the holy Ganga ! 300,000 crores of loot for last decade under the Silent PM is not a big deal anymore! Media is doing everything to resuscitate congress and put this Humpty Dumpty on the PM chair! Last time it was intolerance bogie! Now it s economy slow own! Both are not even real! A person who vanishes 42 days in the middle of parliament session advises the PM who works for 18 hours a day! Rahul advising the pm! If people believe these stunts they may even get elected and even Modi in prison on false accusations! These aurally the victims of demonitization! These hyenas are out to get the lion kings with the help with the old toothless lions

  • World bank said saying Indian economy is in the best shape, but, Modi haters want to float lies as the absolute truth
    GDP GROWTH has reduced INSPITE of the LARGEST MEASURES that world has ever seen.
    - Indian Competitive index is 40th three years back it was 70th
    - IIP figures growth at 1.6 %
    - Fiscal deficit down to 3.5
    No one would give you the figures that GDP should be measured with Inflation index that has come down drastically.
    - CPI Based inflation down to 2.5 from 9.9
    - Foreign Exchange Reserves 402 Bn Dollars from 292 3 yrs back
    - Railway lines correction New lines 2855 Kms .. three years back it was 1507 km''s per year
    - Highway construction 8231 km''s three years back it was 4230
    - Central assistance 44,164 Cr rupees three years back it was 8522 Cr
    - Investments in projects 1,53,494 Cr three yrs back it was 15,209 Cr
    - Houses approved 26,14,398 houses in 2016-17 three years back it was 6,77,610
    - Total taxpayers up at 6.26 crore in FY17 from 4.72 crore in FY13
    ..... ALL THIS WITH ZERO CORRUPTION
    For seeing the achievements of Rahul Gandhi Plz visit
    rahulgandhiachievements . com
    Now Rahul's statements
    "If Modiji cannot handle issues affecting India, he should quit and ask the Congress to take charge. I promise that the Congress party will put everything in place within six months,"
    "If Modiji cannot handle issues affecting India, he should quit and ask the Congress to take charge. I promise that the Congress party will put everything in place within six months,"
    This is his understanding of democracy !
    Now please don't forget to learn about Rahul's Achivements at .rahulgandhiachievements . com

  • IMF is praising the two major recent reforms in India - demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) - as monumental efforts, Lagarde said it is hardly surprising that there "is a little bit of a short-term slowdown" as a result. Now where are the scoundrels who were yelling that Modi destroyed the economy! Now we can see the plot! They can not stand any more progress as if people of India are convinced that Modi is an honest an with genuine nationalist with people concern , Pappu and company may have to say good bye to their dreams! So, all the media both tv and print all lose their importance . Do, all the looters have joined hands! Last time they started a hoax about intolerance, that faioed! Now it is about economy!

  • where is Jan lok pal even after 3 years??
    what was the objectives achieved from demonetization??
    Economic survey says more than 60% Indian senior citizens, widows rely on FD interest for their livelihood. why is has gone down drastically after so much of growth as per you??
    28% GST , Is this the Ache din ?
    2 lakh small scale industries closed down as per BJP's own karamchari morch.
    More than 3 lahk people lost their Jobs. FORGET ALL THIS, Lets be realistic.

    As per about comment from Mr. Raghu and Mr. Sunil, Why no arrest were made if that big scams happened and found illegal money after demonetization even after 3 years of Govt and 10 months of post demonetization?? Tell even if 1 signal arrest was done.

    PM working for 18 hours, honest, nationalist, efficient, result oriented, qualified and hard working, All we Indians agree, but doesn't our PM know that a man with 22 corruption cases and served jail has been named as CM candidate for karnataka upcoming elections ??

    When there is no answer you name questioner as Anti national ???