By Anupriya Singh
Edited by Shambhavi Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
His dimpled smile may have swooned several maidens, but his actions in the political arena have certainly failed to impress the masses. On the surface, white kurta-pyjama clad Rahul Gandhi is the torch-bearer of the political Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. But sadly, we never saw the Rajiv Gandhi like serene posture in his demeanor, neither grandmother Indira’s raging fire in his words. Rather, he seemed to be mother Sonia Gandhi’s lab experiment gone entirely wrong. The young Gandhi smiles when he should have been lamenting (remember the smiling Rahul on your TV sets when Sonia Gandhi was addressing the media for the first time post the Lok Sabha election debacle) and he cries when it’s the season to smile for him (‘power is poison’ stint at an election rally). One fine day, he dozes off on the coveted benches of the Parliament; next day he is in the well with his sleeves rolled up, disrupting the proceedings. Many would dub this as an incredible yet curious case of multiple personality disorder.
These turn of events were never sudden. There were days when everything was picture perfect for Rahul Gandhi’s political career. Sleeping in a poverty stricken ‘kuccha’ hut, eating out of Dalit households’ plates; it was a cake walk to the heart of the voters. Kudos to the excellent back stage planning, Rahul Gandhi came forth as a compassionate, young and an utterly dynamic leader. The 2G and the 2010 Common Wealth Games scam marked the climax of this optical illusion. The voters saw beyond the veil. They saw a government dripping in the black and blue ink of corruption from head to toe. This followed the Lok Sabha mandate of the masses. The 2014 Lok Sabha election was a perfect dais for him to prove himself as an efficient leader by leading his party to a landslide victory. Alas, the stature of Congress party after the elections was such that neither Mrs. Indira nor Mr. Rajiv would have ever imagined in their lifetime. With Rahul’s (unofficial) portrayal as the party’s driving force, INC failed to secure even the opposition berth in a respectful manner. This can be seen as a mass rejection of the crowned prince Gandhi. His elitist aura against a personality like that of ‘chaiwala’ Narendra Modi failed to impress and lacked the essential bonding with the voters. An add-on to the long list of Rahul’s pertaining woes is media’s never exhausting reports and party workers’ regular demands of Priyanka Gandhi as INC’s fresh poster face. This is a testament to the fact that along with the ruling party tag, Rahul Gandhi has also lost his fellow party workers’ faith when his efficiency and capability is concerned. Predictably, Gandhi and his team are trying every possible way to regain that long lost Congress party’s golden boy stature.
All in all, Rahul Gandhi seems to have ended up with the wrong profession. Blame the Indian culture of dynastic preferences for this. But what MAY work for the ‘shehzada’ in the current political scenario is an extended Caribbean holiday followed by a complete image makeover, which sadly can’t be undertaken in a mere fortnight. As of now, the loyalists of the Indian National Congress still await the pompous arrival of their next Indira or Rajiv.
Anupriya is a second year undergraduate student in Economics at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi. An avid reader, she wants to travel across India to comprehend the varied façade of the Indian culture and traditions. Apart from academics, Anupriya has also dabbled in extracurricular activities like debate and documentary making. She has won numerous awards for her documentaries on social issues. Sports, primarily football, and painting constitute her main interests.