This Article is From Sep 06, 2014

Congress, Are You Sure Rahul Should Speak More?

(Nalin S Kohli is spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Director of the party's Public Policy Research Centre. He is also a lawyer and has extensive experience in media and education.)

With Rahul Gandhi at the helm, it appears that the Congress is stuck in a bind. First, senior leaders of the party will profess advice to the young scion to air his views more often. This advice is never directly delivered to the Congress Vice President in private, but through the media, thereby also informing the common man that perhaps the Congress is suffering a crisis in leadership. Then, when Mr Gandhi follows this advice and does profess his views, the Congress spokespersons are forced into a scramble to find some logic in his theatrics.

Take the latest outburst. While visiting Amethi, his constituency for over a decade, Mr Gandhi had nothing to say when voters bluntly questioned him about the lack of electricity and development.

Sadly, for all its VIP status and despite being represented nine times by someone from the Nehru-Gandhi family since 1980, Amethi lacks the most basic development.

In the absence of answers, Mr Gandhi's chose to do the usual - attack blindly to defend. He blamed Prime Minister Modi for the problems of Amethi and for everything else. He referred to Mr Modi playing the drums in Tokyo instead of focusing on problems at home - a desperate and illogical attempt to pass the buck. Expectedly, instead of deflecting attention, Mr Gandhi achieved the polar opposite. What exactly was he doing for the preceding 10 years when besides representing the people of Amethi, his party was also in government at the centre?

Mr. Gandhi's outburst on the 100 days of Prime Minister Modi in government also necessitates a need to assess his performance as a Member of Parliament. Unlike the achievements of the government, the list here is short, crisp and even cute - absent from the rolls, dozing when present (during a debate on Price Rise) and rushing into the well of Parliament to speak, the one time he did.

So why should the BJP comment on the leadership of the Congress party? The BJP has no personal interest in the qualities and capabilities of who leads the Congress. However, when this leader chooses to deflect the failings of the Congress by attacking the leadership of the BJP, the need for a comment is necessitated.
Or even a suggestion. In keeping with the times and events, the Congress Party might want to consider a change in their electoral symbol. The boomerang might rank as an option. Or preferring the foot instead of the hand, perhaps a pictorial representation of Achilles' Heel.

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