No matter how much they wish, Rahul Gandhi’s opponents are unable to write him off. Infact, far from being written off Rahul Gandhi is clearly marching ahead in his political journey with grit and gumption like none other in our nation’s present-day politics. It is not unnatural for people to be surprised at this. Afterall, here is a man who has been continuously attacked by the opposition for more than a decade. From demeaning him to spreading misinformation about his family, no weapon has been spared by his enemies. Sadly, this includes the Prime Minister of our country adopting undignified and false words time and again. Yet, Rahul Gandhi continues his work unfazed. Without an iota of doubt, anyone else in his place would have been finished by now. What is it that makes Rahul not only survive but keep the fight alive especially when others seem to have thrown the towel in?
The answer is simple: Rahul’s deep conviction in Gandhian ideology and practice of methods of the Mahatma. In today’s India, if there is any politician who has regularly drawn a leaf out of Bapu’s book, it is him. Thus, much like the British’s show of disregard for Mahatma Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party also belittles Rahul every now and then. And like the British’s inability to write off the Gandhian movement, the current dispensation led by Narendra Modi is unable to keep its calm in face of Rahul’s brand of politics.
Every time Rahul delivers a speech or even puts out only so much as a tweet, he is able to elicit the wrath of the BJP leadership and its troll armies. It is almost as if the entire cabinet takes the day off just to counterattack him. They even mislead the common man in the process of proving Rahul wrong and tarnishing his image. And despite every BJP leader telling media how Rahul’s opinion holds no importance for them, their actions prove to the contrary. If someone’s opinion is not valuable, why spend so much time and energy in rebutting?
One explanation for this is the fact that Rahul Gandhi appears to be the only national leader who regularly opposes Modi government’s decisions and actions. Unlike his opponents and even a few others who are also attacking the same opponents, he never panders to the base instincts of either the Congress karyakarta or the public at large. He never pays the Bharatiya Janata Party back in its own currency. The truth is that he chooses not to. Time and again, he has made it amply clear that he would never attack anyone’s family or personal life. What else could unsettle the BJP more than Rahul neither stooping down nor giving in despite all their efforts? At the end of the day extremism thrives on submission and uniformity and even a speck of diversity of thought is enough to blow a storm in its face. Mahatma Gandhi knew this well and so does Rahul like a fierce practitioner of the Gandhian way. He knows time and patience are the best friends of one who wants to bring about a positive change while sticking to ideology.
The naysayers regularly pose two questions to those who believe in Rahul Gandhi. One is about his vision for India, often packaged as what would Rahul do if he were at the helm and that he has no experience in governance. They do not need to look for the answer anywhere else but in how the central government that mocks every suggestion made by Rahul Gandhi ends up implementing the same suggestion after a few days. It may be about various suggestions made pertaining to the lockdown or recently about vaccination. Rahul also seems to display this rare ability to foresee challenges and warn the government which is almost always caught off guard. So, the question should instead be posed to PM Modi about his ability or the lack of it to govern.
The second point that Rahul Gandhi's baiters often bring up is about his commitment to politics. It is appalling to see how they fail to acknowledge that Rahul Gandhi has continuously lent his voice to every issue be it related to the economy, farmers, citizens’ rights, foreign policy, and even queer rights. Let them come up with even one other name who has raised every issue so steadily as Rahul. The likes of Arvind Kejriwal have shown their feet of clay in the run up to the elections. They are ready to keep mum on issues to chase power while Rahul puts principles above power. He is there for everyone and is continuously doing his work not discomfited in the slightest by his detractors of various hues.
Anyone who has observed Rahul Gandhi’s politics closely yet objectively, would tell you how the following words of Mahatma Gandhi summarize his Rahul’s journey well.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Write him off at your own peril!
(Author is an AICC Spokesperson and Mumbai Congress’ Working President)
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