Rahul Gandhi needs to come up with fresh ideas

There is something bizarre about a democratically elected Member of Parliament with over two decades in politics to claim from foreign shores that there is no democracy in India. That democracy has just vanished from India and that the West is not doing anything about it—presumably, intervene in a sovereign country’s internal matters and bring about a change in government. We are talking Rahul Gandhi here, who, every time he disseminates his pearls of wisdom, leaves his fellow citizens wondering if they live in the same country as the Congress leader does. When such flippant comments are made in front of a foreign audience—which is unlikely to be aware of the ground reality in India—the charge that Mr Gandhi is trying to shape the global narrative about India through dissemination of misinformation comes very close to hitting the target. According to this most visible face of the Opposition, India’s media, India’s institutional frameworks, its judiciary and parliament are all under attack from the BJP and RSS, making it impossible for him to operate a political party. In other words, it’s always someone else’s fault that he and his family are not able to revive the Congress’ fortunes in spite of having a stranglehold on the party for decades; it’s everyone else’s fault that the Congress is being decimated in election after election not just by the BJP but also by small regional parties, some of them in existence for less than a decade, like the Aam Aadmi Party; it’s definitely not his fault that his top leaders are leaving his party accusing him of unwillingness to engage with them; it’s also definitely someone else’s fault that the public is no longer enamoured of the Gandhi name and the general perception is that Rahul Gandhi is a non-serious politician who has been unable to deliver an alternative vision for the country that is both constructive and forward looking.
It seems that as far as Mr Gandhi is concerned India is a democracy only when the Congress is in power. When out of power and with the prospect of returning to power in 2024 seemingly bleak, India ceases to be a democracy. But even Mr Gandhi’s party wins occasional elections, like in Himachal Pradesh recently. Is democracy revived in those moments?
When a country’s main Opposition leader carries a message abroad about the death of democracy and ill treatment of the minorities in his home country, without any proof to back up such grave claims, he adds heft to the allegations being made by different international busybodies who already hurl similar charges against India.
It is also difficult to understand why Rahul Gandhi is so obsessed with India not being a nation but a mere “union of states”, where the country is like the European Union of loosely bound states that have signed a contract with the centre to be part of the union. To say that India is not a nation is to deny the basic character of India—that it is a civilsational nation, whose roots go back to thousands of years. Also, India is an indestructible union, there is no contract between the states and the centre. The Constitution makes it clear that no one has the right to secede from India, and the rights of the states do not supercede the rights of the sovereign nation. So why does Rahul Gandhi feel the need to propagate such a discredited worldview at a time when the country is finding its place on the global high table on its own merit? India is one of the lone bright sparks in a pandemic-hit, war-ravaged world. There is a sense of drive and optimism in the country. Even then there are several lacunae in the system, several genuine issues that need to be highlighted and worked on. That Rahul Gandhi is unable to do so shows he needs to think differently. Making outrageous comments about Indian democracy will not cut the ice with the voters, who know the truth. If Rahul Gandhi and his followers believe that such a narrative will impact the voters, then they are disconnected from the masses. They are preaching to the converted, not winning over new voters. Paucity of ideas is not a great advertisement for the Opposition. And that’s what exactly Rahul Gandhi seems to be suffering from.

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