JAIPUR CIRCUS – CHINTAN SHIVIR/ RAHUL’S (V.P CONGRESS) ELEVATION: CALCULATED SONIA MOVES TO OFFSET RAHUL’S 2009/2012 ELECTORAL FAILURES TO ENTER HIGH POLITICS IN DELHI.
The hive of activities in Jaipur from hints on reforms, promulgating ‘Chintan Shivir’ and anointing Rahul as Vice President (Congress) are measures apparently to counter the mood of doom and gloom in the Congress after its state electoral (2009/2012) failures. Readers/analysts attribute the electoral failures to the atrocious governance record of the Congress since 2004. The Jaipur melodrama was expected to divert attention away from the massive public discontent over the dismal governance record of the UPA- Congress. Do readers confirm the verdict of the electors in key states (TN, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and most importantly Gujarat) rejecting the UPA/Congress governance, a trend that is becoming India wide and disastrous for Sonia and her close clique. The debate has also shifted to the issue of the relevance of the family/dynastic rule in Delhi. According to numerous analysts including Virender Kapoor /Firdous Syed /Gagan Sharma (DNA/IANS Jan) there was nothing in ‘Chintan Shivir’ except that it was all about Rahul’s succession and the survival of dynastic rule at the 2014 elections.
The show enacted in Jaipur by Rahul/Sonia was a targeted response to the electoral route turning into a blind alley for Rahul. Sonia in one of the sessions admitted ‘..we need to accept that the people are not happy with the way politics is working in India’. In fact Sonia/Rahul were aware how the hold that the close Sonia clique had over the direction of Congress politics remained strong despite conspicuous policy failures creating a strong undercurrent of popular discontent. Going by the state level election 2009/2012 results, to Sonia/Rahul the leadership dilemma was that the voters were discounting heavily the role of the dynasty/family name factor in elections. With the electorate acting in this manner the prospects of Rahul becoming a prime minister after 2014 electorally was receding.
Hence Sonia opted to transfer part of her powerful position in the Congress to Rahul to assure the family’s stranglehold of the Congress to deliver to Rahul a role equivalent to what Sonia enjoys; a de facto Prime Minister without officially holding the post of Prime Minister. PM Manmohan Singh was a family appointed and controlled PM. In a piece in the NY Times of 25 Dec in ‘Manmohan and Obama: A tale of two speeches ‘Obama delivered a speech after the senseless slaying of school kids in Connecticut that ‘seemed to come straight from the heart’., the second speech of Manmohan Singh that came many days after the Delhi gang rape was ‘deadpan, had the right words but without feelings’. Obama’s speech had a prompt ‘connect’ with the feelings of the people grieving the dead but Manmohan’s speech lacked any connect with the vast crowd of mourners demonstrating the streets of Delhi. There are reports that when, how and where Manmohan is to deliver the speech is subject to the Congress family/dynasty guidelines. This adds one more compulsion (family) for Manmohan to complain about besides the coalition compulsion.
Hence the Jaipur ‘Chintan Shivir’ according to the Sonia minders/managers was a necessity in view of Rahul’s electoral shortcomings specifically his tendency to shy away from positions that would require him to be accountable for governance failures. Sonia’s unstated agenda is to replicate for Rahul her success as the de facto leader (PM) of India. Rahul according to another analyst for ‘The Globe and Mail (Jan 21 2013) had a ‘wooden speaking style … (was yet able to deliver a) surprisingly emotional speech at one of the Jaipur sessions … (reportedly his sister Priyanka flew in to Jaipur to provide critical rehearsals/inputs for Rahul’s speech) that ‘provoked a storm of tears and cheering in the hall packed with Congress loyalists …(though) polls indicated that the Gandhi name itself is no longer enough to carry voters… (with the) young Indians …growing increasingly disenchanted with the dynastic tradition’. Mr Gandhi was put in charge of his party’s campaign in the critical state elections in Uttar Pradesh last year and in 2007, (where) the Congress suffered harshest defeats both times”. The results of the state Gujarat election have not changed the electoral position of the Congress for the better.
According to candid analysts ‘On the whole Mr Gandhi has had an undistinguished political career…(and) his …high profile effort …yielded few results to energize a new party “youth wing” . ‘..He is aloof and rarely speaks publicly.’ His contribution in the Lok Sabha is almost nil. These shortcomings explain why he doesn’t deserve the ‘leadership’ success that evades Rahul most of the time. He even avoided ‘…the huge demonstrations that followed the gang rape in Delhi …’ At the iconic moment of youth anger, he was missing for weeks. At the Chintan Shivir Rahul spoke belatedly about the anger of the youth feeling alienated from the closed clique in the political class in Congress taking all important decisions. The elevation of Rahul is unlikely to change the youth’s sense of alienation under a Congress style rule.
Another analyst highlights ‘this party’s …genius … (to orchestrate Rahul’s/dynastic succession via another route/door using the family’s stranglehold of the party organisation’). Anyone who attempts to differ with this view ‘that’s the end of their careers’. The analyst adds ‘that’s not enough to run a country’ any longer though Sonia and her close clique in the Congress appear to believe in it still. Evidence from state elections point that the dynastic appeal alone cannot get the party re-elected to power. According to the critical NY Times of November 4, 2012 ‘…in fractious political times, a scion of India’s dynasty stays quiet’ highlights the inadequacies of Rahul as a potential Prime Minister of India.
Strangely the Congress faithful at Jaipur overlooked Rahul’s electoral inadequacies when on elevation to Vice President, Rahul himself responded proclaiming ‘the Congress party is now my life and people of India are my life’. Rahul ‘the perennial non-starter of Indian politics’ beginning at the very top was given the de jure status as number two. The control of the ‘Firm’ (Congress) has to be within the Family. The party minders to cover up Rahul’s inadequacies portray him as ‘a reluctant politician’ but when this line was losing its credence, Sonia/Rahul in Jaipur created a new fiction; ‘power is poison’ liner. This is an old family charade to remind the voters/Congress of the sacrifices of the family, Rahul makes sure that he mentioned the tragic loss of his father and grandmother.
In Jaipur Sonia/Rahul after fiercely fighting the anti-corruption activists for years especially during 2009-2012 railed against nepotism and corruption. Shinde’s wisdom that the Indian voter had short memories about all forms of governance failures including massive scams encouraged Sonia to smuggle into the Congress’ own Chintan Shivir the vigorous campaign against corruption that voters associate with the Lokpal and IAC activists. Sonia boldly smuggles these hot issues into the Chintan Shivir without acknowledging how Lokpal and IAC (India Against Corruption) activists campaigned the most to bring these issues to the forefront of debate across the country while Sonia and her courtiers applied oppressive measures against those activists agitation.
Sonia in striving to find the political space politically for her son, an electoral write off, a powerful enough leadership role that she herself created the ‘Chintan Shivir’ was to turn public attention away not only from the massive scams/scandals but also many other massive political failures. An analyst in Groundreport of December 03 2012 catalogued these failures in ‘Would Not Indians Replace Pretender Sonia To Rid India Of Her Secular Mafia Dharma And Save Indians From Doom’. The Jaipur pageantry was orchestrated to overwhelm public anger over these and Sonia family (Vadra) scam in which a number of Congress Chief Ministers were pressured to give Vadra a clean chit making those CMs accessories to the huge land scams. Mother and son railed not against those corrupt Congressmen but against the anti-corruption activists only blaming the system’s inability to prevent the scams occurring. But the sins/misrule of Sonia and her courtiers are much wider and deeper in scope, that explains the sharp erosion of support for Sonia Congress and the defeat after defeat the Congress suffered at state level elections 2009 – 2012. .
The highlights of the Sonia clique’s misdeeds discussed in depth in the Groundreport reveal that ‘As Indians grow politically mature the Sonia regime began reeling under scathing and broad based criticism of its adharmic misrule; notably its scams (the 2G, Coal Block, Vardar scams ) and major foreign policy failures’ . The Sonia regimes’ response to corruption criticism was a haughty denial. Also there was a ground swell of popular anger when the regime at most times resorted to the use of the police, the CBI, MEA against protesters. ‘Corruption stimulated inflation and price increases to cause much suffering to the aam aadmi. Corruption is the plunder of public assets and income streams into the pockets of Sonia allied politicians, big business and the new rich depriving funds for development measures to alleviate the sufferings of the poor. Vast amounts are stashed away overseas as black money by the corrupt; Sonia’s reaction to this is the atypical inaction. 2009-2012 were years of widespread street protests that Sonia left the police to deal with and the cosmetic reshuffle of the cabinet left noted ex-scammers in more powerful positions. Sonia courtiers stirred more public anger when the regime unleashed state instruments like the police. RAW, CBI, tax offices on opponents and activists. To avenge the supposed assassination of her husband Rajiv, Sonia misused the instruments of state power like the NSA, MEA, Indian Embassy officials to support with funds materials and men the Sri Lankan genocide in which over 40 000 innocents were massacred. The victims were kins of TN Tamils and the Sonia Congress’ inaction or in fact support irretrievably lost TN Tamils support politically. Pranab Mukerjee, NSA Narayanan, Chidambaram were Sonia’s aids who blackmailed its scam ridden partner, the DMK into toeing the anti-Tamil Delhi line and not protest. Protests against this level of massacres that stirred the conscience of the world against a major crime against humanity strangely only received the impassive silence from Sonia and Manmohan. The ‘in the loop’ support of Sonia’s Congress for the genocide of Eelam Tamils had implications for the unity of India. The alienation of TN Tamils runs deep… Hence Delhi was deaf to the oft repeated ode ‘TN is being driven the Eelam way’. The Delhi’s inaction and stilled silence has weaned off TN Tamils from the Gandhi family. Delhi chose to value freindship with Sri Lanka more compared to TN a constituent of the Indian Union. A grateful and friendly Sri Lanka encouraged China to establish a foothold in India’s soft underbelly an alarming military threat never before Delhi experienced.
tThe popular anger that welled up over the Delhi rape tragedy drowned the life in Delhi with the public fearing a let down by the Congress (at both state and Central level). This time around initially confusion reigned over the decisiveness of the action of the police and political leadership while PM Manmohan Singh watched impassively for days. In a piece in The Times of India , Dec 25, 2012 Ajit Ghosh, ‘Manmohan and Obama: a tale of two speeches’, one by Obama on the ‘senseless slaying of school kids in Connecticut’ came from the heart, but delayed Manmohan’s message was delivered deadpan. The rape rage that rocked Delhi moved the impassive Sonia. Sonia visited the victim in hospital soon after the Jaipur tamasha. She with Rahul met the anti-rape activist leaders at her residence to assure them of swift action against the Delhi gang rape criminals.
An analyst’s candid summation of the 3 days Jaipur drama objectively assesses the effects of the Jaipur drama. This is worth quoting. ‘Jaipur mission to preserve the family’s control of the Congress was accomplished. The party reaffirmed its faith in yet another generation of the Gandhis. This was obvious even before Jaipur. With the terrible record in governance in the last four years it will be a miracle if the crown prince passes his first major electoral test. His record does not inspire confidence though the courtiers equated him with Obama(!) …Expectedly the climax of the show – Tamashas –was the coronation of the ‘yuvaraj’. His reluctance earlier was not because of his perceived incapacity. Rahul…revealed… his mother’s ‘power is poison ‘hint to avoid being consumed by the toxic power. ..the sympathy generated by Indra Gandhi’s unfortunate death enabled the Congress under Rajiv to win more than 400 seats…In less than five years the haughty display of power politics by Rajiv and his cronies led to the worst debacle of the Congress. ..The dynasty can anoint a ruler. fifth generation in succession in Rahul’s case – with the hope that the emotional voter will dutifully stamp his approval in the so-called elections or a sophisticated process of nomination? (There is a repeat of that haughtiness today) The onus for the change is not with the dynasty, they have a strong vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Unless the common citizen thinks and acts like a free citizen and brings to an end the disgusting dynasyic politics.., the family feel completely immune to any public scrutiny. Surrounded by a huge army of sycophants whose very survival depends on the continuation of the dynasty, they are beyond the realm of any criticism within the Congress party. The fully secure Gandhi’s have developed a weird attitude of moral superiority to pontificate as if they are free from all the ills… In the Congress the respect is for positions not knowledge.’ ‘In that case (this)scholar asks Rahul ‘what qualification do you have to be able to possess the prominent position he holds other than his unique position that may catapult him to become the next PM’ other than his unique place in the dynasty.. Charity begins at home, dynastic politics has to come to an end for the youth to feel to be part of the system. That was the message of the youth demonstration in Delhi following the road rage…that the Jaipur comedy and Chinan Shivir are totally irrelevant in addressing.