Rahul Gandhi, can you lead the Congress and then maybe the Opposition or is it too much to ask for?
The one thing most Indians on social media are serious about are their facebook and twitter accounts. Among them, some spend more time on twitter for its wider reach and the 140-character limit keeping invective in check (at least in one tweet, there is a thread for invective and hate etc). It is as good as one’s bank account.
But the nonchalance with which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi didn’t allow his party to rake up the hacking of his official twitter handle is worrying. If not for him, it is, at least, for the Indian National Congress. Though times have changed, Rajiv Gandhi got the Chandra Shekhar government voted out on reports that policemen were spying on him. Here the Congress scion’s official twitter account had been violated and offensive, inane, homophobic comments posted on it.
But Rahul doesn’t allow his party workers to do what is to be done. The current ruling dispensation held up inordinate Parliament time when it warmed opposition benches citing the scams of 2G (which is yet to be established), coalscam (again, the cases against former PM Manmohan Singh have folded up with the CBI doing the folding for lack of evidence) and whatever else.
Almost all of India is in a queue to access its own money, even the soft-spoken Manmohan had to say very, very stern things. What is the harm if Congress MPs hold up Parliament, this government any way takes calls without the House in mind. A case in point is the entire demonetisation exercise. The Congress is still not ready to believe Rahul is it. Some in the party look Priyanka wards but apparently Prashant Kishor who advocated a greater role for her isn’t getting what he wants. So Rahul it is. With the health of Congress president Sonia Gandhi becoming a cause for concern, it is time Rahul decides what is best for him and the party. Jupiter’s velocity won’t do, he will have to get more rustic if it comes to that, of course, without swinging a mace like some Hindutva posterboy, putting the fear of god in secular folk.
Though Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad do more than enough in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, they do need a rallying leader to take the fight to the NDA ranks.
The only hope for the Opposition, despite the Left’s antipathy to her, is Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She has kept up the pressure on the government over demonetisation, even doing a rally with the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party and leading a delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee. That delegation included BJP ally Shiv Sena, which has now eaten its words against demonetisation.
The Trinamool Congress chief has not toned down her criticism of the demonetisation. She still wants it withdrawn, the remaining political parties crow about the catastrophic execution and don’t want it withdrawn. Mamata Banerjee has stuck to it.
With Mamata gaining prominence on the national horizon, her and her party’s concern over the low fuel flight she took to Kolkata assumes significance. This was quickly followed by the paranoia of the night of December 1 when she refused to leave her office in Kolkata after army personnel were alleged to have been deployed to collect toll tax etc. She said coup, she said Emergency earlier. She may sound neurotic but she is what Rahul Gandhi isn’t – a street fighter, a toughie. And she will see them out, just like she saw the Left Front out of the seat of power in West Bengal after 34 years.
Until another roll of the political dice, the BJP has a problem in their hands. By their derision, by their laughter and by their foolhardiness, they have created a new Opposition leader for themselves. Mamata Banerjee. And she is no Rahul Gandhi.