Rahul Gandhi, a reflection of 1984`s Rajiv Gandhi?

Updated: May 12, 2014, 20:55 PM IST

The Nehru-Gandhi clan, that has steadfastly held the political mantle of India for most number of times in more than six decades, had to defer the decision to announce its fourth heir in the row - Rahul Gandhi - as the prime ministerial candidate of the country’s oldest political party.

It was a conspicuous move by a party with little choice to make, that hinted at Congress` scepticism towards its sole leader. Sadly, willingly or unwillingly, Rahul as prophesied, was to hold the reins of the party some or the other day.

Is he a victim of compulsion, as his father Rajiv Gandhi was to the dynastic democracy, or is he being used as a scapegoat by the sycophants who serve their own interests under the realm of Gandhi family?

A profound juxtaposition of the father-son duo brings to light, some indistinguishable foibles which make them as alike as two peas in a pod. Rahul seemed naive, youthful, evasive and delusional when he first stepped into politics as his father had appeared exactly three decades back.

Harping on the sympathy fetched from his mother’s assassination, when Rajiv decided to take over the reins of his political chariot, he was as apolitical as Rahul seemed before being indoctrinated into the folds of the Congress party.

Rajiv, a reluctant entrant into politics, was at his leisure in his social circuit when he was abruptly bestowed with the grim realities of India. While he was thought as an epitome of change in the India’s socialist era, he did very little to go beyond where his mother and grandfather had left the country. Just imagine, how Indian economy would have benefited, had Rajiv ushered in economic reforms soon after becoming the sixth Prime Minister of India.

However Rajiv, still wet behind the ears, only talked of change, but had no authentic strategy to make it happen. As a result, during his tenure, there was much tumult.

From 1984 riots, Punjab terrorism, Kashmir insurgency, Odisha famines and an immature handling and unlocking of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya to introducing a separate law for a minority community, Rajiv let things go out of control. To further exacerbate the situation, the Bofors scam took away even the last iota of faith people had placed in him.

Many would certainly agree that in real terms, Dr Manmohan Singh wasn’t the most ineffective Prime Minister India has ever witnessed. Rajiv Gandhi could give him serious competition on that front.

For Rahul, the noose tightened much before he was conscious of how the actual gallows of politics appear. The wily brains, backing Congress for ages, left the untaught scion to consolidate the premier party of, arguably, the most difficult democracy in the world.

Consequently, as scores of sharp-witted journalists pricked him from all corners to extract all kinds of embarrassing quotes, he spoke only of ‘change’- a word that almost lost its charm even during his father’s regime. Moreover, he became utterly evasive to every question posed at him about 1984 riots.

His vision to ‘empower women’ sounded soulless to such an extent that it ended up with him becoming a butt of jokes.

Though he attempted to be one among the down-and-outs in his full sleeve white cotton kurta and stubble, he was still seen as the prince of a dynasty. Much like his father, he too tried to bring the dead to the present, starting from his great grandfather, grandmother to his father.

Undoubtedly, Rahul didn’t offer anything different from what Rajiv Gandhi promised to the nation. Before flaunting him as a fresh leader of the youth, in haste for the sake of Congress’ existence, the party could have first prepared him. He should have been trained to be media-friendly and articulate from the very beginning, when he was chosen as a parliamentarian.

But as they say, marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Alas, Rahul has been written-off as a politician much before he could present himself as a torch-bearer to the Gandhi dynasty.

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