Rahul Gandhi’s word and statements will count the most from now on as he has become a politician now.
As soon as Rahul Gandhi made his theatrical entry at a news conference, where he besmirched the ordinance brought in by the UPA that would shield convicted legislators from disqualification, TV channels and the social media burst out with mockery about how he had undermined his own prime minister.
The same words were reiterated by the opposition parties, especially Bharatiya Janata Party, which rubbed it in by saying that the head of government has been dishonoured. And undoubtedly the Congress vice-president’s impulsive and politically incorrect banishment of the ordinance – he termed it ‘nonsense’ – was most bizarre. Party men don’t attack at what their government does and that too never is such language and tone.
But impromptu or not, Rahul has confirmed, by this one single act, that he is now completely accustomed to the way political winds are blowing. As public and political outlook against the ordinance ascended, and the government stayed adamant, Rahul realised that this was turning out to be a political debacle which could bounce back on the party.
No matter what the idea is, the community would see the ordinance as an effort by the Congress to please friendly parties such as Lalu Yadav’s RJD. That it was an ordinance which ignored a Supreme Court ruling, which would also go unobserved.
By all accounts, it looked duplicitous and pessimistic. There were buzz of disagreement inside the party but no one was dared to speak against the PM. They may have even evaluated this to be a political resolution crafted by the high command and who is expected to raise their voice against that?
To ward off any more harm, Rahul may have analysed that it was better to kill the ordinance once and for all instead of getting trapped into one more of those endless debates and discussions about it. The outcry that it would raise about how the prime minister’s command had been undercut by the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty would fade away swiftly, but the consequences of going ahead with the ordinance would be long lasting.
Since the government could not be seen to moving back its own ordinance without losing face, the party entered the picture. It is unimaginable that the prime minister was not consulted or taken into confidence about such a crucial decision, instead it occurred while he was away on an overseas trip and in such a way appears to specify the script has not played out rightly.
Surely some more elegance and fineness would have facilitated. But public view has borne out the Congress’s estimation. There is respite that a particularly loathsome piece of legislation has been killed unanimously by the cabinet.
The obvious conclusion now is that with just a few months left for general elections to start, it is the party and not the government that will take crucial calls. In any democracy, the connection between the party and the government is a crucial one. For all, the talk of two centres of power in the Congress, the party, led by its chief, tends to stay away from matters of authority- in public at least. It does control policy of course and perhaps even stamp important agendas. But on many counts, the prime ministers lead the way like the nuclear deal with the US.
In 2004, when Congress gained power, Sonia Gandhi made a significant break from the past and did not take up the prime minister’s post. But it is too much to anticipate that the party will stay low profile vis-a-vis the government and now is the time for it to affirm itself. No chances can be taken in such a vital election.
Rahul, who has refused to take up a position in the government, is working to reinforce the party composition. He thinks like a party man, has his ear to the ground and is responsive to mood shifts. He also wants to put his own stamp on political agendas. Every step is taken after completely working out the positives and negatives of its affect on the party and anything on the negative side must be ditched right away.
Even if there are no more theatrical burgeons, it is his word and statements that will count the most from now on as Rahul Gandhi has become a politician now.