Monday, April 6, 2015

Is India a plaything for Rahul? BJP gets lucky with Congress, Left and Janata helping it

The BJP held its National Executive Committee meeting in Bangalore on a grand scale. The main topic of discussion was how to strengthen the party. Actually, there was no need for such elaborate strategising. For the Congress, the Left and the Janata parivar will together ensure that Modi-BJP remains on top for the foreseable future. The nakshatras above and the challengers below are so aligned that even the excesses of the fanatic fringe will not shame the ruling group. The BJP's greatest asset is the opposition.

A cursory glance is enough to see how bereft of ideas as well as leadership are the opposition groups. Let's leave out the Left. Prakash Karat has successfully made it irrelevant. With nil field experience, he could not come up with a single initiative to exploit Mamata Bannerji's dip in popularity because of her eccentricities. In Kerala he sided with the dictatorial and tainted wing of the party, alienating significant sections within the party and sympathisers outside. The Karat years have been so negative that it will be virtually impossible for a new generation of young leaders to make the red flag flutter again.

The Congress has not collapsed irretrievably, but it is in the grip of an embrace that has the potential to strangle it. Consider Dhritarashtra who possessed the strength of one lakh elephants due to the boon granted by Vyasa. Thanks to Krishna's timely intervention, Bhima stepped aside and pushed an iron figure of himself into the blind king's enveloping arms. It was crushed into powder. With no protector around, the Congress got caught in the embrace of the Gandhis. Indira and Rajiv made the grip firm. With Rahul Gandhi reducing politics itself to a farce, the prospect of the party getting crushed into powder has become real.

And what a farce. Here is a man who made it clear to all that he was not interested in politics, that he just didn't have it in him. He went on to prove it -- making mistake after mistake, embarrassing friend and foe with faux pas, even compromising the venerable Manmohan Singh who was bearing the cross for his family.

The unforgivable sin was his playing hide and seek with India as though this great country was a plaything for him to toy with. Too often he just vanished, like a Houdini in Gandhi cap, and returned as he pleased, when he pleased. This time the joke has gone too far. It is not just his long absence; it's the secrecy that makes it unacceptable. Party spokesmen say he is reflecting; mother says he will be back soon. Why this tamasha? What is he hiding from? The Congress's insistence on concealing his whereabouts is arrogant and insulting to India. After this irresponsible disappearance, Rahul Gandhi should be declared unfit to rule the Congress. Of course he has the strength of at least ten elephants due to the boon granted by Indira Gandhi. With this he will crush the party into powder unless a Krishna appears to save it.

The miserable plight of the Congress is the inspiration behind a collection of Janata parties joining hands to form a credible opposition. No bookie will take bets on this venture, for it is doomed before it is born. We only have to look at the leaders of the six parties to see how the very idea of their wanting to rule India is an affront to India. The new party is to be headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, patriarch of the Samajwadi Party which has a sordid track record in UP. Its current run is marked by an unprecedented breakdown in law and order. Even ministers have been caught in murder cases.

And who are the other five? Janata Dal United, its leader Sharad Yadav frequently airing antediluvian views on women and their rights; Rashtriya Janata Dal, led by the irrepressible Lalu Prasad whose latest asset is a daughter given to imagining herself as a lecturer at Harvard University; Indian National Lok Dal with patriarch Om Prakash Chautala, alas, in jail; Janata Dal (Secular) under Deve Gowda who, when not forgotten, is a liability even in Karnataka; and Samajwadi Janata Party which actually died with its sole MP, Chandra Sekhar, but they now want us to believe that it is not dead.

How can a bunch of losers, all past their expiry dates, even think of ruling a country like India with a young and aspiring population? The nakshatras are smiling at the BJP.