News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » 'Rahul Gandhi should abandon his yatra'

'Rahul Gandhi should abandon his yatra'

February 01, 2024 09:13 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

'Rahul Gandhi should have prevented Nitish Kumar from going.'
'He must pacify Mamata Banerjee if he has a cause of Mohabbat Ki Dukaan.'
'He should bring this Mohabbat Ki Dukaan on the political canvas.'

IMAGE: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the party's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Siliguri, West Bengal, January 28, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

As India gets ready to go into election mode the question on most people's minds is not if Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be re-elected but with how many seats?

If electoral politics is all about public perception, then it is clear that Modi has already won the battle.

But was the Opposition's INDIA bloc ever in the game?

Political observer and author Rasheed Kidwai is among those who believe it was, and that it can still give the BJP a run for its money.

In the first two parts of his interview to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/, Kidwai spoke about what ails Opposition politics and how Congress leader Rahul Gandhi may have got it wrong.

"There are people in the Congress who are telling Rahul Gandhi 'chaubis gayo (2024 election is lost), ab untees ko dekhenge (we will chalk out strategy for 2029).' This is not how politics is practised," Kidwai says in the concluding part of the interview.


Who are the people advising Rahul Gandhi and taking the Congress in a leftist direction?

This is an important question, as right from Pandit Nehru to Sonia Gandhi or even P V Narasimha Rao they were able to use the Left parties to the advantage of the Congress party. They used Left parties to further the Congress's political agenda.

What has happened now is the exact reversal. It is the Left which is rootless politically, but able to influence Rahul Gandhi, thereby raising their concerns.

In Indira Gandhi's time, she was able to use the Communist Party of India to her advantage when she was politically weak in 1969.

Even Dr Manmohan Singh used the Left to his advantage between 2004-2008, but when they put their foot down on the India-US nuclear deal he ousted them and got his way.

People say Dr Singh was a weak politicianm but I would say he was very smart and politically savvy. Rahul Gandhi should have joined his council of ministers to learn.

Do you think Rahul Gandhi's biggest mistake was not to learn anything from Dr Singh in politics as he did not even become a minister in his government?

Not joining Dr Singh's government as a minister has hurt and harmed Rahul Gandhi more. It was a golden period for the Congress and he could have learnt how the government functions.

I would say middle class voters like people who are achievers.

If you look at Rahul Gandhi you will see what is he.

His CV is not so much about MPhil in development economics or some other degrees or skills which he has gained.

His CV is looked at by the Indian middle class as Rahul Gandhi is Indira Gandhi's grandson or Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi's son. This comes to the public mind when they think of Rahul Gandhi's CV.

Had he been a minister in Dr Singh's Cabinet, he would have been remembered as a minister of infrastructure or foreign ministry or whichever ministry, he had taken and done a good job.

He did not take any such ministerial job from 2004-2014.

Look at Omar Abdullah. on the contrary, he has been a chief minister and ran a government or Rahul's own age politician like ex-Congressman Milind Deora, he too took up a ministerial job.

Arvind Kejriwal or even Amit Shah who are slightly older than Rahul Gandhi. Middle class India sees these politicians as achievers.

Even Akhilesh Yadav, he is Mulayam Singh Yadav's son but as a chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he did a lot of work and people remember him for the Lucknow Metro work or highways of Uttar Pradesh that were built in his tenure.

Rahul Gandhi missed that chance to become a minister not so much because of his arrogance, but leaning too much on political discards. These political discards always have their vested interests.

What is leadership all about? It is about heeding the best advice tendered.

Mughal Emperor Akbar had no benefit of formal educationm but he had his Navratnas who were his advisors. Therefore he was called as Akbar The Great.

Who gives Rahul Gandhi ideas such as the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra when INDIA is collapsing?

There are people who are stakeholders and they do not fight elections.

They do not understand the enormity of defeat in terms of resources and personal prestige in elections.

These people do not understand the void it creates for a politician when they are out of power or not get elected for five years.

For five years not to be an MP is very agonising and today the Congress is not listening to its cadres too.

This is what we are seeing in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat (on the Ram Mandir issue).

It is not that Rahul Gandhi is oblivious of all these things as in 2009 the Congress did well among urban middle class voters. They won their votes and Congress has to own up their own legacy of their reforms.

They must open channels with captains of industry and others.

We know about electoral bonds and these things matter.

The other thing is media. I can understand the BJP has a stronghold over media, but that does not mean the Congress cannot have a beginning.

If you say there is bias in the media against the Congress then it is a section of television media and anchors. There are lots of mainstream newspapers from North-South and then East to West (who write against the BJP) but people ruling in the Congress have built a narrative that the media is biased against the Congress so do not engage them.

But Rahul Gandhi addresses the media regularly. He does press conferences every now and then.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra was very successful and Rahul Gandhi was careful in not giving any interview to the mainstream media.

For the Opposition, the media is a very important tool to highlight your concerns on issues.

Just because a section of television media and television anchors who the Congress thinks are hostile, you cannot paint the entire media with the same brush.

I can give you examples of newspapers from Kanyakumari to Kashmir who are not hostile to the Congress party.

By no stretch of imagination can you say newspapers like the Malayala Manorama, Tribune and Deccan Herald are hostile (to the Congress).

Not that The Times of India, Hindustan Times or Indian Express or Telegraph or even are hostile to the Congress party.

There are so many platforms. It is not wise to neglect all of them.

If you look at regional media you will find out that all media are not pro-BJP. Even in Gujarat, a newspaper like Gujarat Sandesh has been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Do you mean that Rahul Gandhi must give interviews to such newspapers, if not television channels which are pro-BJP?

Precisely, if we as journalists know this fact then Rahul Gandhi should know it.

There are people in the Congress who are telling Rahul Gandhi 'chaubis gayo (2024 election is lost), ab untees ko dekhenge (we will chalk out strategy for 2029).'

This is not how politics is practised. It is very unfortunate and disturbing.

If there is a post-Modi era of politics, then you have to understand that the BJP has already established so many leaders in their party. Be it Yogi Adityanath, Amit Shah or Himanta Biswa Sarma, and the ideology of the RSS is always going to be there (in Indian politics).

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi addresses the media on the first day of the interim Budget session at Hans Dwar of the new Parliament House in New Delhi. January 31, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Does it mean 'Aayega toh Modi hi is the reality of the 2024 elections?

It is more because of the doing or undoing of Opposition parties that Modi is being seen and appearing as a clear winner.

INDIA had every opportunity to deny Modi a simple majority of 272 seats in 2024, but now it has frittered it away.

It is still not too late. Rahul Gandhi should abandon his yatra and get back to the table with all the parties of INDIA.

Rahul Gandhi should have prevented Nitish Kumar from going.

He must pacify Mamata Banerjee if he has a cause of Mohabbat Ki Dukaan. He should bring this Mohabbat Ki Dukaan on the political canvas and not something abstract which cannot be quantified.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024