Rahul's political thoughts
What astonishing galvanisation one speech by Narendra Modi has caused in the higher echelons of the Congress party. Nobody can remember when the Prime Minister was as animated as he was in the Lok Sabha last week. And suddenly Rahul Gandhi is deigning to talk to reporters. Was it the Gujarat Chief Minister's derisive references to the 'family' that generated this change? Or has the Congress party noticed that a general election looms ever closer and it has nothing new to offer voters except a reluctant prince?
Politically, the leitmotif of this government has been corruption and on the economic front, the leitmotif is that from dizzyingly high growth rates the economy has plummeted to the lowest in a decade. If prices continue to rise and jobs continue to disappear, no amount of free foodgrain is going to induce people to vote back the Congress. But this week, I would like to talk about Rahul Gandhi. I have hesitated so far to seriously analyse his political role because he has so rarely said anything that can be construed as a political thought. Now that he has, it deserves some honest analysis.
A day after his unexpected press conference in which he declared that he would never be prime minister, I happened to be on an NDTV panel with a dedicated Rahul acolyte. This gentleman was so passionate that he literally spat every time he mentioned Narendra Modi's name. Look at the difference between the two men, he shouted, here is man who does not want power and there is a man who has shown that he is desperate for power. I did not get a chance to take him up on this, but would like to make the point here that Rahul already has more power than almost any politician in India other than his mother. So why should he want something he already has? What is more puzzling is his reluctance to implement the ideas he would like to dedicate his future political career to.
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