Once Voldemort for Congress, he is the point of talk in the party. But Congress is attempting a smudge which is too big and easily noticed.
Just a few months ago, the Congress party was shaking with the possibility that the Bhartiya Janata Party will anoint Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as their prime ministerial candidate. It was almost a relief for them when the BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani created a bit of a trouble in the party again opposing Modi’s anointment.
The bad luck fell upon the party and BJP president Rajnath Singh went beyond his ways to anoint Modi as party’s candidate. Advani too fell in line soon.
The series of fierce rallies that Modi started afterwards only made him the Voldemort of Congress. He was only to be feared and not named.
Their fear was apparent in defending their own future Rahul Gandhi at each and every possible corner from Modi’s shadow. Their public statement accusing the opposition of trying to make the upcoming general assembly elections a Modi vs Rahul game was only indicative of that.
The “NaMo” fear was also evident in Congress’ new-found focus on the urban middle-class, a hard core constituency of the Gujarat chief minister. Disenchantment of the educated middle class with prime minister Manmohan Singh, whom they had wholeheartedly endorsed in 2009, is evident in the public protests against corruption and gender violence. And the party has been trying too hard to woo the chunk back.
This fear was seen and heard but not said by the party itself. But it was the pretty big writing on the wall.
Nonetheless, the Congress party kept attacking Modi on inane matters. Law minister Kapil Sibal went a step ahead and challenged Modi for a public debate.
The denial mode of the party was broken when finance minister P Chidambaram took the courage of speaking about the challenge yesterday. People were only smirking.
But more interesting was the turn when home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde appeared on the scene. Shinde not only maintained the old Congress denial mode, his statement also reflected that Chidu was under fire from the party leadership for doing so.
“Narendra Modi is not a challenge to Congress. Congress is a big a party, very old party. It has already completed 120 years of its existence and it has its own identity,” he told reporters. “I cannot say about others. I am saying on behalf of me and my party,” he added.
Interestingly, this new found courage of the Congress party has come only after the blooper that Modi put at his Patna rally. The point-to-point rebuttal of his speech by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has made his adverseries more than capable of speaking his name now.
Still, his ways and names still make him someone who can be the answer to a fed up public. The Congress is attempting a smudge which is too big and easily noticed.