Looking beyond a sham Election
Columns, Point of View

Looking beyond a sham Election

By TJS George

No harm would have come to the Congress Party if Rahul Gandhi was named President one fine morning. Much harm was done to its image by staging a charade of an election. As many as 89 sets of nomination papers filed for Shri Gandhi. Not even one nam-ke-wastay opponent. (Dissidents? What dissidents?) The party’s dutiful “Central Election Committee” wanted a day to scrutinise the papers. A deadline was fixed for withdrawal of nominations. Then voting. Who were they trying to fool? Why?

Among the first to react was Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Congressman who has just lost his Congressmanship. Off-centre as ever, he underlined the meaninglessness of the election by proclaiming that Rahul’s elevation was as natural as Mughal succession. “After Jehangir, Shah Jehan came. Was an election held? After Shah Jehan it was understood that Aurangazeb would be the leader.”

Understood by whom? There was a bit of humbug there introduced by Mani. The Mughals had no tradition of passing power from father to son. Shah Jehan did want to crown his eldest son Dara Shikoh, a thinker and religious liberal though poor in military matters. The ambitious Aurangazeb defeated various opponents, then turned on Dara accusing him of being no longer a Muslim. Dara was betrayed by a General and was eventually executed. Aurangazeb cut his brother’s head and sent it to his father detained in Agra Fort.

So why did Mani compare Rahul Gandhi’s succession to that of Aurangazeb? Nothing disloyal, to be sure; he is known as one of the few civilised men in politics. But he loves intellectual mischief, as most intellectuals do. He probably wanted to give another handle to his nemesis, Narendra Modi, and watch the fun. He did that once by revealing something nobody had noticed till then – that Narendra Modi began as a chaiwalla. The Modi juggernaut used that bit with great success. Naturally,  Modi seized the Aurangazeb bit as well. He has been having a ball comparing the Congress with the Mughals.

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Of course, the BJP has no moral right to criticise Aurangazeb in the Congress when its own leaders are saffron-clad Aurangazebs. Were L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi sent to pasture through an election? How many BJP Chief Ministers became Chief Ministers through inner-party elections? The Indian voter is not dumb. He and she can see the hypocrisy of one party accusing another of wrongdoings when all of them wallow in wrongdoings. Dynastic autocracy is no different from personality-based autocracy.

Fortunately, for the Congress, its tactical mistakes have not so far dented the image-boost that Rahul Gandhi acquired in recent months. The rise of Patel politics in Gujarat and the remarkable electoral setbacks the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP, has suffered in Delhi, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Rajasthan, Guwahati and even the Central University of Gujarat point to a trend. Modi will remain unbeatable in oratory. But recent events show that, without oratory, his opponents can attract some attention.

Image matters in public life: Richard Nixon’s camera-unfriendly “7 o’clock shadow” undid him before the fresh and friendly face of John Kennedy. Modi’s dreamlike idealism will remain unrivalled, but it can no longer be separated from the image of Amit Shah who has become his alter ego. Nor can he escape from the negative vibes produced by his Finance Minister who goes on introducing half-baked reforms, then keeps correcting them in bits and pieces, all the time claiming superior wisdom incomprehensible to ordinary mortals. Image matters — and the image of the Government today is not what it was yesterday.

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Opposition forces have gained ground support in Gujarat, but Gujarat is one State the BJP simply cannot afford to lose. If they lose Gujarat, they lose India. So they will use every trick in the book and then some to win. They have already got help from squirrel parties like NCP and AAP who will field their own squirrels and thus split anti-BJP votes. BJP strategists must now protect EVMs to prevent Hardik Patel from tampering with them, and protect the Election Commission also to prevent Alpesh and Jignesh from misusing it. Got it?

For Rahul Gandhi,  a setback in Gujarat will not be the end of the road. It will be the beginning of a new journey. Everyone is looking for a New India. The BJP spoiled its chances by equating New India with patriotic lynchings.

A new Congress can seize the opportunity.

A new Congress? Ay, there’s the rub.

[email protected]

www.tjsgeorge.info

December 12, 2017

15 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Looking beyond a sham Election”

  1. Abdul says:

    Hilarious cartoon in Times of India where Rahul yelling at Sonia, MMS and Chidambaram ‘How come you can’t make me the unopposed PM on India, just like you made me the unopposed President of Congress;’! That clearly explains what is Rahuls calubre!

  2. Ramu says:

    Rahul is the future PM or india!

  3. John says:

    Nehru proved that a rich man can be a PM.
    Shastriji proved that a poor patriotic man can be a good PM.
    Indira proved that a woman can be a PM
    Morarji proved that an old man can be a PM
    Rajeev proved that a young inexperienced man can be the PM
    Manmohan Singh proved that a slave can be a PM under the thumb of a bar maid!
    MODI proved that a patriotic chai wala can be a good PM
    Now it is up to Rahul to prove that a moron can be a PM .

  4. Girish S says:

    Obviously TJS George has a soft corner for Congress despite the sham of a party it has become. Despite being in power for over 60 years congress has nothing to show. Its a hopeless party with an outdated ideology that doesn’t chime with modern Indians. There is only one party that will be ruling the roost for some time to come in India and this is BJP. Unless they have a big fall from grace. They have enough smart people within BJP to do any course corrections required and take India forward. With congress its always a case of looking sideways and backwards and never forwards. India can no longer afford the kind of misrule it has suffered for vast majority of the time post independence.

    • Peter says:

      I agree with everything except that statement that Congress has nothing yo show. Here is the list of congress achievements
      Congress looted India for 6 decades scams after scam . Last decade itself they looted 300,000 crores! Every single scam below was engineered by Sonia, Rahul and Vadra under the great economists like Manmohan Singh and visionaries like Chidambaram!
      The list is as follows:
      Bofors scam, a trademark scam of Gandhi family.
      Coal Scam: CAG calculated it to be to the tune of 1.86 Lakhs crores, whoops mind-boggling!
      2G Spectrum Scam: To the tune of 1.76 Lakhs crore!!
      Common Wealth Games scams: To the tune of 70,000 crores, involved parties Suresh Kalmadi, Sheila Dikshit, Robert Vadra amongst others
      Chopper Scam: Perfect example of bribery and corruption in India 610 Million!
      Tatra Truck scam: dirty defence deal
      Adarsh Housing scam: a building made for war widows, but flats occupied by Congress big wigs!
      Cash for vote scam in 2011
      Satyam Scam
      Telgi stamp paper scam
      Insurance Scam
      Telecom scam (Sukh Ram)
      HDW Submarine Scam
      Bitumen scam
      Tansi land deal
      Securities Scam
      JMM Bribery Scandal
      St Kitts case
      Urea scam
      CRB Scam
      Anantnag transport scam
      1971 Nagarwala scandal
      Fooder scam
      Churhat lottery scam
      Animal Husbandry Case (1990)
      Bombay Stock Exchange Fraud
      Hawala scandal (1993)
      Bangalore-Mysore Corridor (1995)
      Sukh Ram (1996)
      Fodder Scam in Bihar (1996)
      Kerala SNC Lavalin power scandal(97)
      Home Trade
      Ketan Parekh Scandal,
      Barak Missile Deal Scandal,
      Tehelka Scandal (2001)
      UTI Scam
      Taj corridor case (2002–2003)
      DSQ Software Scam
      IPO Scam-
      Oil-for-food programme scam (Natwar) (05)
      Human Trafficking Scam
      Cash-for-votes scandal
      Satyam scandal
      2G Spectrum- 2008
      Madhu Koda, laundering money Rs. 4000 Cr
      NREGA Scam

    • dr.m.shanthakumar says:

      very well said

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