Saturday, 26 September 2015

Rahul Gandhi's US trip: For conference or sabbatical or a forced leave?

In Odia, there is a proverb "Deula Bhitare Kiyere, Mun Kadali Khaini'. (To a question who's inside the temple, answer comes that I didn't eat the bananas, in English 'Guilty conscience pricks mind'). Congress's answer to Rahul's latest tour appears identical.

Although Rahul Gandhi is unchallenged top leader of the Congress party due to his dynastical clout, yet none in the party has any idea when Rahul Gandhi would take a foreign tour, to which country and when will he return.

Wise people always say, if something is not in your control better to keep silent. The Congress perhaps forgot this wisdom rule and now fumbling very badly defending something that is indefensible.
On 22ndSeptember, as usual Rahul Gandhi left India. Some media reports said that Rahul Gandhi is in US to meet his ailing granny. When such personal visits happen not only the common people but the political opponents also do not raise any issue over it.

Bihar Assembly elections are only few days away and so far only one rally of Rahul Gandhi has happened to which both the allies Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav gave a miss. The buzz word in political arena is that JD (U) and RJD are not in favour of campaigning by Rahul Gandhi as they might be seeing Gandhi scion's participation as damaging to Mahagathbandhan's prospects. Do not forgetIndiaToday TV's satirical presentation 'So Sorry' over this logic.

Someone's absence from active politics for personal reasons is no doubt defendable. But the problem with the Congress is that they never know when Rahul Gandhi will return. Thus the Congress apprehended that sooner or later BJP may create an issue out of Rahul Gandhi's absence fromBiharelections campaigning. Another worry for the Congress is that Narendra Modi is on official tour of the US making many Indian journalists too to camp in America.

Thus it's a great opportunity for Indian media to have both Modi and Rahul on American soil although later is there for personal reasons. Thus extra curious Indian journalists may start searching for Rahul Gandhi in America to get some news bites on Narendra Modi's visit, his speeches or anything related to him to create some sensation.

Thus the Congress was desperate to find an excuse regarding Rahul Gandhi's sudden tour. The Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala officially said that Rahul Gandhi was in America to attend a conference 'Weekened with Charlie Rose' at Aspen Colorado in America.

Even if you want to tell a lie, tell it in such a way so that it appears to be true and there is no possibility of cross check. If the Congress would have given a name of any Chinese city, none is there to cross check it. But, here the Congress party took the name of a US city a city. In this era of information technology and aggressive presence of social media, such lies can't be defended. Social media immediately proved that such weekend conference at Aspen had already been conducted in July and Rahul Gandhi was not an invitee. Further, Rahul Gandhi is leader of the main opposition party in India. If he had to attend an international event, the programs would have been declared well in advance. It can't be done suddenly overnight!

BJP didn't miss the opportunity. It claimed that Mahagathbandhan inBiharimposed a forced leave on Rahul Gandhi. This BJP tactic has really put the Mahagathbandhan in a tight position and is definitely causing embarrassment to the anti-NDA alliance.

Thus the Congress needs to be cautious when they are dealing with Rahul Gandhi's sabbaticals. You may claim that Rahul Gandhi is a matured leader and better alternative to Narendra Modi, but the public very well understand his potential and his regular habit of going on leaves.

The Congress is trying to divert attention from Rahul's Us visit by questioning Narendra Modi's foreign tours. I think the Congress should learn some lesson. Narendra Modi is not on sabbatical. He is on national duty, which was known to everyone well in advance.

There are some news that Sam Pitroda (friend of late former PM Rajiv Gandhi) is trying to organize a last minute conference at Aspen to substantiate the Congress' claim. I think that would be very bad idea and would be more damaging to the Congress, which needs to maintain silence now.

Now Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are also abroad for personal reasons. (Some reports say they are out for Sonia Gandhi's health check up). None is questioning this tour. But at this point of time if somebody from the Congress starts claiming that Sonia Gandhi is also there to attend some conference, then serious scrutiny will start.

The Congress must realize that right now it is not passing through a good phase. To revive old glory it has to be wise and mature. Action of defending something indefensible out of sycophancy only increases the damage. Sooner the Congress learns this lesson; the better it would be for the party.

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