Etemaad’s editorial on 8 April 2013
At a time when election is fast approaching and the number of days may be counted on fingers, Rahul Gandhi, considered by the Congress to be Nehru family’s rightful heir, has taken everyone by surprise. In his address in Delhi to the annual meeting of Confederation of Indian Industry Rahul has made the top industrialists and the people who were watching him on their TV sets exclaim and conclude, “What is being said about him is wrong.” He stunned the industrialists present there with regard to Prime Minister’s remarks in which one day earlier he had asked industrialists to, “keep the faith and partner with government”. In plain and straightforward language Rahul told them, “If you expect the prime minister to solve all the problems, you are going to keep expecting.” Rhaul has thus presented his own real image before the industrialists and has also exposed the face of his party and the Government.
Rahul’s address to the meeting of industrialists was an extremely important speech of his political career. What was being expected and assumed was that as Congress’s prospective prime ministerial candidate he would deliver a speech that would enthuse in the audience a new vigour and zeal. But he shattered all such dreams. Neither he made lofty claims nor, like other politicians, did he try to show them dreams. This was nothing but Rahul’s realism and plain talk. Contrary to this, through his Sadhbhavna BJP’s perspective candidate Narendra Modi was dreaming of preparing his prime-ministerial procession. The delay by his party in declaring him as a prime ministerial candidate made him so impatient that he could not stop expressing his deep desire and say, “Now the time has come for me to pay my debts to the country.” However, the question is what plans does he have to deal with the intricate and complicated social and political situation in the country. He has not said anything about it yet. He only has in his hands the card of so-called progress of Gujarat and he has mentioned it repeatedly. India has various religious, linguistic and cultural problems. Each group wants to protect its distinct indentify within a successful prosperous democratic setup. But Modi cannot think beyond Hindutva. He does not have the courage of taking the challenge of creating unity in diversity.
Making indirect reference to his adversary Rahul Gandhi said, “One man riding a horse cannot solve the country’s problems, but it is a collective effort…The legislative engine in India consists of 5,000 people who determine everything, how many people choose them? How can you talk of Centre-State relationship when only MPs and MLAs are defining the Vidhan Sabhas?”
What Rahul Gandhi said is not a complicated philosophical issue but a reality. No single person, even with all the powers vested in him, cannot solve huge problems facing a vast country like India. May be a ruthless dictator is able to do this on gun point. Modi did try to do so in Gujarat during the anti-Muslim riots of 2002 and is keen to repeat this experiment under the pretext of having been given the mandate by the voters.
The reasonableness displayed by Rahul Gandhi at the meeting of Confederation of Indian Industry is far more effective than Modi’s card of “progress”. To the BJP, however, such rational approach is directionlessness and Rahul Gandhi’s speech confusing. Such inferences are nothing but expressions of political animosity and hatred. President of Confederation of Indian Industry Adi Godrej also saw Rahul’s speech as, “very good” and “His ideas are brilliant. Industry has to see how it can work with the government.”