New Delhi, November 17: At last, very cautiously and keeping his weaknesses aloof, the Congress Party and its Supremo Sonia Gandhi has to deliver the driver’s seat of Congress wagon to Rahul Gandhi. Neither Sonia nor Congress, not himself Rahul are confident enough. But it is not a wedding which can be prolonged; it’s a dynastic ritual which Sonia has to perform sometime and there seems ‘No Best time’ for Rahul Gandhi to command Congress and the Government. However Sonia has started the process of Rahul’s active command on congress by appointing him as the chairman of the party’s six-member coordination committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“L” Commander and his “HMV” lieutenants
The reluctant Rahul Gandhi has taken his first step on the Congress party’s national stage. He has been appointed as the chairman of the party’s six-member coordination committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The move can be seen as a follow-up of the party-government dialogue session last week and is accompanied by the setting up of three other sub-groups. Rahul’s lieutenants are Ahmed Patel, Janardan Dwivedi, Digvijay Singh, Madhusudan Mistry and Jairam Ramesh.
The three other sub-groups also indicate the areas of concern for the party with an eye on the preparations for the elections. These include pre-poll alliances, preparation of manifesto and the government’s programme implementation, as well as communications and publicity.
The announcement on the groups was made at the party's 'Samvad Baithak' (Dialogue Session) held at Surajkund, a town bordering Delhi in Haryana.
Among the members of the sub-group on pre-poll alliances are Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily, and Minister for Youth Affairs Jitendra Singh besides senior leaders Suresh Pachauri, Mohan Prakash and Mukul Wasnik, who recently left the ministry of social justice to work for the party. Besides Antony, the panel on manifesto and government programmes includes Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Home Minister Sushil kumar Shinde, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. The panel would also have Congress spokespersons Sandeep Dikshit and Renuka Chowdhury besides senior leader Ajit Jogi, MP P.L. Punia and special invitee Mohan Gopal.
Besides apex loyalists Digvijaya Singh and Ambika Soni have been included in the sub-group on communications and publicity.
Among other members of the panel are Information and Broadcasting Minister, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning Rajeev Shukla and MPs Deepender Hooda and Bhakta Charan Das.
Rahul’s dubious record in Parliament
Congress’s PM in waiting has marked very rare presence in Lok Sabha and Parliamentary processes.. His only remarkable presence was his direct entry in Lokpal debate which was sponsored by Lok Sabha Chairperson Meira Kumar.
Apart from this, Rahul Gandhi has worst record as an MP. Rahul’s attendance statistic says that being a key member on the Congress side, his attendance count is only 42% in Parliament. His presence percentage rises only in Budget sessions where majority matters.
No daring to face debates
Rahul’s record of interventions in Lok Sabha debates from 2004 to 2012 is not even worth mentioning. In parliamentary debates to which studious MPs give a apex importance, Rahul has attended the debate only once. With a special debate category of “Special mention’, on 26-08-2011, he ‘participated’ in debate of ‘Issues related to the demand of civil society to introduce Jan Lokpal Bill’.
After Media applying him a tag of ‘game changer’ and his sister Priyanka Vadra attended Lok Sabha gallery to see how he performs, Rahul had asked, “Why not elevate the debate and fortify the Lokpal by making it a constitutional body accountable to Parliament like the Election Commission?” with a piercing look towards the Opposition who was not at all in a mood to take his infantile speech seriously. Rahul’s ‘one speech stand’ participation in Parliamentary debate might have only impressed his Elder Sister.
Not Once: A big ‘Zero’ to Rahul on Question Hour
Not once, it is interesting to know that Rahul Gandhi has never ever opened his mouth to ask a question in Parliament. Similarly Gandhi scion also demoralizes his MP record on ‘Private Members' Bills’. MP’s legislative motion is called a private member's bill or a member's bill. It is a proposed law introduced by a member of a legislature who is not acting on behalf of the executive government. Unfortunately Rahul Gandhi is yet to find a noble cause to introduce only such bill in parliament.
‘Parliamentary Debates’ and ‘Question hour’ are believed to be the effective tools of any Parliamentarian. Rahul Gandhi doesn’t look to be in favor of this logic. It seems that he more tends to play gimmicks like visiting a widow’s home and doing a labour work with wearing Kurta and a look with raised beard. However he never speaks on helping the downtrodden with whom he shares a photograph.
Rahul’s Poll gambles
Rahul's 'Mission UP 2012' collapsed due to off the cuff remarks, controversial comments and raking up of sentimental issues by senior party leaders including union ministers. Interestingly when the U.P. poll trends were coming out and it was visible that the Congress has been thrown to fourth place in UP elections, Congress chief Rita Bahuguna-Joshi has to come forward promptly to be a scapegoat and emerging Rahul a mere ‘star campaigner’.
And when Congress lost in Goa, UP and Punjab, both Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh, trying to be smart ‘accepted’ the defeat.
Rahul’s personal bluffs
Rahul’s pre election affidavit filed on 3 April 2009, states under the section “My Educational Qualifications are”- M.Phil (Development Economics) from Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1995. However there are 2 abnormalities.
To understand those one has to read the fine-print in the “To Whomsoever It May Concern” certificate issued to him on 22nd April 2008 by Cambridge University. As against the year of passing mentioned in his pre-election affidavit, which happens to be 1995, the certificate from Cambridge shows it to be 2005. Secondly, the “Pass” criteria as mentioned in the certificate happens to be 60%; one can’t but help notice that Rahul Gandhi scored 58% in the paper “National Economic Planning & Policy”.
So what is the truth here? The answer is – Don’t Ask. Why? Because Rahul Gandhi is, a would- be Prime Minister of India. For Congress and for Mama Sonia, the most eligible bachelor equates to Most Eligible Prime Minister, it seems.
Rahul’s winning capacities during the assembly elections in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have been found completely inadequate. The Congress party expected that Rahul will be able to revive the almost-dead Congress in Bihar.
What is wrong in tearing up a poll promises by opposition?
Rahul’s immatureness was exposed when it was revealed that the piece of paper which Congress leader tore up on 15 February afternoon at an election rally, was not a list of poll promises of Samajwadi Party or BJP, but it contained names of Congress leaders.
See how Congress Party reacts to this blunder also. With Rahul Gandhi drawing flak from SP and BJP for tearing up a list of poll promises by opposition parties, Congress said his act was the “best way” to send across the message that assurances were to be kept and not forgotten after elections. All time loyal Ambika Soni told reporters that, “Rahul has merely said unless we build our credibility and do not fulfil the poll promises, these are like torn papers. What is wrong in it?”
Who says what…
Senior Congress party leader and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Friday welcomed the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the head of the party's 2014 poll coordination committee, describing him as the Congress's new commander. "Our party is very excited. Now, it is clear who our commander is, whose footsteps we have to follow," Khurshid said.
On a Media question on whether heading the committee was a risk for Rahul, faithful Digvijaya Singh said, "Where is the risk? After all if politician doesn't take a challenge, how would he survive in politics? So this is something the Congress has to take a call on and we've taken a call."
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had earlier challenged Congress party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi to come to Gujarat to lead Congress party's campaign in the assembly poll. In September, addressing a rally at a village in southern Gujarat, Modi said, “Congress now says Rahul won’t be coming to Gujarat. The reason is known to me and also people of Gujarat. Is Gujarat such a bad state that he can’t even visit it?" Modi said.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain has said, “Tthis is not the first time the Congress has reposed faith in Rahul. Earlier, under his leadership, the Congress fought UP and Bihar polls. Now he has been given the responsibility of overlooking the General Elections. We wish him all the best and hope that the outcome is not the same like the previous occasions.”
The Janata Dal (United) wondered why the 'crown prince' of Congress was getting so many chances despite successive failures in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. "Except for the Congress party and Sonia Gandhi, no one can see a spark in Rahul Gandhi," said JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari.
BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said nobody will be able to save the Congress party from defeat in the 2014 general elections. He commented that, “It is the internal matter of the Congress Party; we have nothing to do with that (Rahul Gandhi's appointment), but let me also be clear about one thing-that nobody can save the Congress party.”
Is Rahul a luggage for Congress, Yes but How?
Yes, it is now sufficiantly proved that Rahul Gandhi was given adequate chances to command polls. Congress tried his makeover to make him larger than life. From his drapery department to event management, each thing seems planned and with a strategy. But what counts is the end result in which no management tool works because it is the Janata, jo sab Kuch Janati Hai!
Congressmen and some elements in Media are expecting that Rahul can rescue the sinking ship of the Congress, make Miracle to revive the organisation and rejuvenate it to fight electoral battle. But it is fact that the much spoken 'mysterious and hidden talents' of Rahul Gandhi as a leader have yet to be noticed in public life.
A reluctant Rahul has now been made a Commander of 2014 polls by his mother to impose his command on all party decisions and to continue a rule of Gandhi dynasty over the Congress Party. Rahul’s political career track shows that he has never led from the front and never fought but had always lost!
(We are really feeling sorry for PM Manmohan Singh for his least mention in this article. Credit goes to Congress itself which gives very less significance to him within the Party)