“My opinion on this ordinance is that it’s complete nonsense”, Rahul Gandhi thundered at the Press Club of India. Rahul added that the ordinance that seeks to protect convicted MPs and MLAs “should be torn up and thrown away”. What was on Rahul’s mind when he outrightly rejected the same ordinance that his party’s govt. cleared and sent for the approval of the President of India? Was the Congress Vice President really kept ignorant on such an important government decision? What’s the message that the Gandhi scion and the Congress party wanted to give? Here are the five things you need to understand on the whole issue.
1. Rahul wants to regain his image
A few years ago, when Rahul Gandhi entered the arena of politics, he was hailed as the symbol of the aspirations of the Indian youth. People had expected Rahul Gandhi to change the way politics is done in India. He had also created the right noises initially to gain an image of a new age politician who could bring back respect to Indian politics.
But Rahul Gandhi’s abject failure and poor performance as an important politician and a member of parliament caused a loss of that image. His silence on several issues of national importance didn’t help his cause. UPA’s track record on corruption and mis-governance was also linked to Rahul’s image. As a result, the youth has now accepted a 60+ Modi as its favorite hero and role model. In fact, my guess is even Arvind Kejriwal is more popular among the youth than the ‘young’ Gandhi.
Rahul wants to regain that ‘role model of youth’ image back. As the youth is angry with the rising influence of criminals in the politics, Team Rahul decided to use the Convicted Neta ordinance for this effect. Rejecting the ordinance could be the least he could do to bridge the increasing gap between him and the young voices of India.
2. Rahul Gandhi wants to look strong
As part of his image makeover strategy, Rahul wants to look decisive and strong. Perhaps to counter the Modi effect. While the BJP’s PM candidate, Narendra Modi, wins new fans with every speech of his, Rahul Gandhi, who lacks oratorical skills, has an image of a soft and confused leader in the public perception.
To reverse such views, Rahul, wanted to show determination and firmness in his views on the controversial ordinance. He used strong words like ‘nonsense’, ‘torn up’ and ‘thrown away’ to show his conviction. However, only time will tell how the people will react to Rahul’s outburst against his own party’s govt.
3. The whole drama was pre-planned
Yes, with a certain amount of confidence, I believe the Rahul-rage is not genuine and was meticulously planned. Rahul is an SPG protectee. He can not suddenly reach somewhere without first informing the SPG which is entrusted with the job of his security. As per some media reports, the SPG was well aware of Rahul’s plans to visit PCI. SPG was, apparently, instructed to secretly and silently, make necessary arrangements for Rahul’s protection. One TV anchor also said that PCI was informed last night by the Congress party (while booking the venue for ‘Meet the Press’ event) that ‘one big leader’ may remain present with Ajay Maken during the press meet.
Apart from that the visible restlessness to speak as soon as possible, rolling up sleeves frequently, inattentiveness towards other speakers and immediate leaving after making his point were some of the indicators that the only purpose of his presence was to make that statement.
4. Manmohan Singh doesn’t fit into Congress’ game plan for 2014
On this blog, I had written a year or two ago that Congress would dump Manmohan and promote Rahul Gandhi as the face of change in 2014. Today’s events strongly point in that direction. Rahul’s drama tried to paint the Manmohan led UPA govt. as sympathetic to the criminals, while the Rahul led Congress as intolerant of crime and corruption. This is a clear indicator that Manmohan will be made the fall guy for all the mistakes UPA has committed so far.
5. Congress saved itself from multiple embarrassments (From BJP & President of India)
BJP scored a few brownie points by making its opposition to the ordinance public. Its vocal resistance pushed the Congress to the backfoot. Similarly, President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee summoning 3 cabinet ministers to explain the hurry to push the ordinance was also embarrassing for the government of the day. It also raised the doubt if the President of India was contemplating to refuse to sign the ordinance. That would be the most embarrassing that the congress leadership could expect.
So, in a master stroke, the Congress party staged the drama which not only brought Rahul Gandhi back to prominence but also saved the govt. from a major embarrassment. If the President actually refuses to sign it (while this post is being written, Times Now has tweeted citing its sources that “Pranab not to sign the ordinance”) , the party can claim that that the president’s action was in respect to Rahul Gandhi and the Indian youth’s views.