To hold the party together means having to deal with the reality that Rahul Gandhi is in charge. And while Gandhi is certainly not the idiot he's been portrayed as being, he's far from being a natural politician.
It does not behove a prime minister, who has taken an oath to uphold the highest principles and ideals of the Indian constitution, to utter falsehoods and twist his political opponents' remarks to convey an impression that they are anti-nationals, traitors, and stooges of the "enemy" nation Pakistan.
In the early leg of the Gujarat campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi played with a fairly straight bat and spoke of vikas, the wonders of Narmada Ma, roads, electricity, increased crop production and himself. But as the election enters its last leg, a familiar actor has entered the poll rhetoric: Pakistan.
Is Pakistan Modi's best friend? I know it is paradoxical and sounds bizarre. But there is a saying in my village thata man in good times and bad calls on his best friend.Today, unquestionably, it can be said that Modi is in distress in the Gujarat election and is leveraging Pakistan to bail him out of the crisis.
Every day, the government - the BJP and its family are Olympic gold medallists in propaganda techniques and technology - pummels us with more numbers, more statistics, more surveys and more data to prove it's a Regime of Superheroes.
Mani Shankar Aiyar's ability to score goals against his own team is unparalleled in Indian politics. So, perhaps, is his level of frustration at being sidelined in his party despite his fawning allegiance to the Nehru-Gandhi family. He has a remarkable capacity to offend people, get personal and abusive without provocation.
From the surprise resignation (then un-resignation) of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to the intra-Gulf crisis with Qatar to the battle for influence in post-Islamic State Iraq and the vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria, the signs of the regional battle royale between Saudi Arabia and Iran are everywhere.
Rahul Gandhi showed who's the boss and reacted decisively in what can be termed his first decision as nearly Congress President - the suspension of Mani Shankar Aiyar for his "neech" comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
LK Advani, one of the BJP's most powerful leaders at the time, set out on a Rath Yatra on September 25, 1990, from Gujarat's Somnath to campaign for a Ram temple at the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya. Lalu Yadav recounts the events of the day he arrested LK Advani.
As a political activist who has contested elections, I can share with you that visiting religious places while campaigning almost becomes a second habit. So I am not surprised at what Rahul Gandhi is doing. What surprises me is the deliberate projection by his party and him that he is a "Hindu".