Journalist M.J. Akbar once called him ‘Prince Hamlet of Amethi’ and said he was in a ‘transitional phase’. Yes, he was talking about Rahul Gandhi – the Vice President of the Indian National Congress, the Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India, and the M.P. from Amethi.
The man born with a silver spoon, clad in a pair of white kurta pyjama epitomizes the face of Indian politics. He, like the majority of the Gandhi clan politicians, is soft spoken, gives cultivated and trimmed speeches, is polite with mediocre capabilities in oration. One has to admit that Rahul Gandhi belongs to a dynasty which has been given the birth right to rule a country as large as India – which is why India is often referred to as the ‘Dynastic Democracy,’ (and an unofficial monarchy). As we all know – The Prince is without any opposition in the Congress and is the natural choice for our future Prime Minister.
Does being born in a dynasty give one the right to rule a country? If Indian voters are to be believed – yes, it does; specially in the case of the Nehru-Gandhi family, they are born to rule. No other political family has drawn people’s interest as much as the Gandhi family. Rahul Gandhi has maintained his reticence in becoming the Prime Minister of this country (at least in the media). He said he does not want to be the PM and only wants to strengthen his party and the future of his country, bridging the gap between Bharat and India. Of course the main opposition party BJP has termed this as Rahul Gandhi’s ambition to enjoy power without any accountability.
He has shown poor responses to various issues of nation importance, questionably showing lack of political fortitude. His response to terrorism and his comments on Hindutva have brought severe criticism from his opponents. His timid response to killing of soldiers on the border by Pakistani forces did not go down very well either. He showed no disapproval to the Chinese intrusion. Similarly, his ‘woke up late’ response to the Lokpal Bill brought down his popularity among the youth he had been working so hard to mobilize.
He rarely talks directly to media, instead preferring press conferences, a legacy started by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The fact is that he is not able to match his political opportunity (his “birth-right” to rule India) with his political competence. A possible reason could be the immense burden of expectations coming out of this opportunity – created by him being a Gandhi, by his birth right to rule.
However, this is India, the world’s largest democracy; people elect their politicians with pomp and then throw them away with an even greater haste. Congress has amply seen this in the past with Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Unlike many other democracies in world, political competition in India is tough and demands a high level of political commitment and interaction at ground levels. Undoubtedly, being born in Gandhi Family has given him a wild card entry in Indian politics, but it does not guarantee his safe (or easy) passage to the throne. In capricious coalition politics, where the Congress will probably not be able to generate a simple majority, the future PM will have to make everyone happy.The mixed ideology of a coalition is often more challenging than tempting.
For the time being, Rahul Gandhi is far away from being a complete politician and a future candidate for the PM. As Mr. Akbar said, he is still in his transitional phase.
By: Gaurav Kumar