Rahul not keen to be named as PM candidate

LALIT SETHI

With the Opposition on the upswing after the Congress captured the three Hindi heartland States and defeated, if not routed, the BJP in an unceremonious manner, the question of who will be the new leader of India after 2019 General Election is beginning to become debate-less. Rahul Gandhi is being openly talked about as the possible new Prime Minister after the General Election.

But Rahul Gandhi is beginning to be very wise after the so-called semi-final of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He believes that being the Congress Party President is far more important than even thinking about Prime Minister’s office when it is not even vacant or presuming that the General Election will be easily won; it is too early to become presumptuous as the bridge has yet to be reached before it is possible to cross it: dates for it have yet to be reached. The work in hand has yet to be done; the year 2018 has not even ended.

The BJP would rather not give too much credit to Rahul Gandhi for being their wrecker in chief, but start looking for internal ghosts within their own hierarchy in their assessments of the December 11 election results.

Who are the real wreckers of the BJP’s own prospects in the three heartland States? Did Narendrabhai over-reach himself? Did he conduct himself as the heaven-born Messiah rather than as a National leader?

Did Amit Shah become too much of a “bragging bag” because of the money power now with the BJP? Did the deletion of millions of potential voters create a psychosis of fear and dread among the people of India? Did Thakur Ajay Singh alias self-designed Yogi alias Adityanath create a feeling in U.P. and elsewhere and wishing to be the next Premier of becoming a terror factor focused on putting down all comers like a “pehlwan” or wrester rather than so-called chief minister of India’s largest State and making it look like Ulta Pradesh rather than Uttar Pradesh or even UTTER Pradesh, sheer utter State with gun-toting guys on the run?

The alias Adityanath was asked to address 74 rallies in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the absence of Narendrabhai Modi for a lot of time. The Ajay Singh man used his vocal chords to threaten voters rather than woo them. That was the undoing of the BJP’s well oiled machine of its so called cadres and leaders. Amit Shah with his nonsensical speeches became as harmful as the Yogi fellow, who behaves like a self-appointed Nazi style dictator.

He was on the scene as a cowboy in place of the Prime Minister who had to keep track of his world-wide commitments in international forums because their dates could not be re-arranged ~ like the Group of 20. Mr. Modi could do quite a few election rallies later but Amit Shah and “Yogiji” had done all the irretrievable damage to BJP prospects. If quite a few constituencies were lost by small margins or by the skin of teeth, then who best to lampoon than the BJP tomboys?

Narendrabhai Modi has publicly appeared to be grave, if not sullen,
when in Parliament House, he was presented with a shawl by a Minister; he promptly took it off his shoulder and gave it back to the presenter, who was making the opening day of Parliament’s Winter Session look like a laughing matter of sycophancy when defeat in key elections was a matter of mourning.

Yet the DMK president, M.K. Stalin, “vowed” on Sunday, December 16 to make Rahul Gandhi the country’s next prime minister, because he had “the ability to defeat the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre”. He was speaking at a rally for the unveiling of a bronze statue of the DMK patriarch and his father, M. Karunanidhi, at the party headquarters in Chennai.

But Rahul Gandhi knows his onions; the Congress would have to win 200 seats to even think of a Congressman as  the next Prime Minister with Opposition after the elections. M.K.Stalin said his proposal for Rahul Gandhi as prime minister was akin to his father’s support to Indira Gandhi and later to the Congress party under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. But is the Congress endorsing it prematurely? It is not.

 

Stalin alleged social justice, autonomy of states, social harmony and secularism were under threat under the BJP regime. “The government led by Modi has turned India’s clock back 15 years. If he is allowed to rule another five years, the clock will turn back another 50 years,” he said.

Stalin also called Modi a “sadist” as he said the prime minister did not visit Tamil Nadu after cyclone Gaja. He asked whether Modi would not visit states like Maharashtra or Gujarat if these places were hit by natural disasters.

“Do Tamils deserve such indifference? That is why we call for the defeat of Modi,” he said, adding more parties will join forces to dislodge the Modi-led NDA government.

Stalin also slammed Modi for not expressing sympathy or visiting the storm-hit southern state while he had time for foreign visits and condole natural disasters abroad.

Heaping praises on the Dravidian veteran, Rahul Gandhi echoed Stalin by saying,“Today, we have a government (at the Centre) that attacks the voice of people, culture and traditions of the people and key institutions, which is a government that believes that it doesn’t have to respect and heard different cultures, voices of the people,” he said.

Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi batted for steadfast and strong ties between her party and the DMK to defeat the BJP in the parliamentary elections next year.

”It is my earnest desire that the mutual support of our parties to each other must remain strong and steadfast as when
Karunanidhi ji was guiding us…and as we wage together a battle with the political forces that are determined to destroy our constitutional values, our institutions and the idea of India as you know it,” she said in an apparent reference to the saffron party.

She said the message of unity among the Congress and DMK should go to the people.

“Let the message go to the people of Tamil Nadu and the country that we are united and determined to protect and preserve our country’s constitution and its values that has built and sustained India over the last 70 years,” she asserted.

Chandrababu Naidu, who is spearheading the effort to cobble up an anti-BJP front for the next Lok Sabha polls, lashed out at the NDA government for its “failure” in all areas, and warned of what he described as a “danger” through manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), allegedly by the BJP.

Regional political parties like Vaiko-led MDMK and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi were also present at the event.

Silver ‘victory swords’ were gifted to Sonia and Rahul by the DMK on the occasion.

Sonia unveiled Karunanidhi’s statue at the DMK headquarters. Later, she along with Rahul paid floral tributes at the mausoleum of the DMK patriarch at the Marina beach here.

According to the Indian Express, not all opposition parties were happy with Stalin’s decision to start touting Rahul as the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate. “Who will be the PM is a question we should answer after the Lok Sabha results are in,” an opposition leader told the newspaper. Leaders from the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress and Nationalist Congress Party reportedly do not want the elections to look like a Modi vs Rahul fight.

Recalling her association with Karunanidhi, the Congress leader said the late patriarch was a great support and strength for the UPA from 2004 to 2014.

”I personally remember that we looked up to his knowledge and experience to guide our coalition government,” Sonia said.

Lalit Sethi is a Journalist of long standing and a commentator on Political and Social Issues.

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