Bharat versus Hindustan
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At last, Rahul Gandhi made a decent speech. He should, however, not fall for the sycophantic praise he got from the Congress chamchas. They would have hailed him even if he had read out the alphabet. Even so, he has not said anything interesting all these years. Now it appears he has primed himself for the Election. The race for May 2014 began last weekend. Rahul Gandhi will have to prove himself before crowds of people not coached to praise him. He has a tendency to talk down to people and not take them with him. His advisers should coach him better.
Yet, the speech was still too backward looking. Like a Bollywood cliché, he said Mere paas Ma hai aur Dadi bhi hai. But most voters don't remember Indira Gandhi. The crowds which gathered in the streets of Delhi after the horrible gang rape do not credit Congress or its previous leaders with having reformed the society, nor for a gender-friendly regime. You cannot claim Congress being at the heart of the nation for 65 years and not accept responsibility for the myriad faults blatantly choking off the future of many citizens. Rahul Gandhi's critique of Congress Party was also self serving as if he or his family have had nothing to do with the overcentralisation, factionalism and cynicism which are rampant in the Congress. If he has a vision for the future, we have yet to see it along with the concrete policies which he would launch to cure his party and also the nation.
But in politics as in war, luck counts for a lot. It would seem the RSS works to help Congress by its behaviour. The way Mohan Bhagwat reacted to the gang rape contrasting a pure Bharat and a sullied India showed that the RSS (and BJP by implication) is anti-urban, anti-modern and anti-women. The most striking thing for me was Rahul Gandhi's use of the word Hindustan rather than Bharat. Obviously, brand Bharat has been contaminated by the RSS. We can expect a battle of Bharat versus Hindustan/India.
- Congress opposition to GST does no credit to a party that opened up the economy 25 years ago
- Kashmir poses not just moral but also existential questions involving statecraft
- New FDI policy in food products is unlikely to be a game-changer by itself
- Swathi murder case in Chennai must trigger a move to enact strong witness protection laws
- A new government in Nepal does not hold out any promise of greater stability
- Kashmir is more than land, it is people