Seize the day, Rahul Gandhi. Demonetisation is the gift that keeps giving
There is no time like the present for the grand old party to get its act together. After all, it's Congress Day.
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Everybody knows that demonetisation is a disaster, lashed on the citizens of this country by a master in Entire Political Science, egged on by his trusted coterie of aspiring economists. The consequences have been borne the most by the downtrodden, the marginalised, and the rural populace of the country.
There is a silent rage, there is anguish. More than 100 people have died. Every day there is a new announcement; the RBI has turned into a joke and has completely lost its credibility. Every day there is a new logic given for demonetisation: black money, digitalisation, terrorism, cashless; the list doesn't seem to end at all. The past couple of months has seen India go through tremendous trauma and suffering.
You would have thought that this is enough ammunition to bring the ruling class down. But, lo and behold! Except for a few discordant voices of dissent from regional satraps, nothing has materialised. Had the same thing been done by the UPA, the BJP would have made mincemeat of the Congress. There is no opposition worth its name.
And obviously, the biggest winner, despite the colossal mess, has turned out to be the man who has vowed to be burnt alive if there is any problem after December 30. He is literally laughing all the way to the bank.The demonetisation is a god-sent golden opportunity. Photo: PTI
The opposition, the primary burden of which would lie at the doors of the Congress - which by the way was insistent on being designated the principal opposition in the not-so-distant past-has proved to be a sitting duck. Where there seemed to be some semblance of unity in the opposition, Rahul Gandhi frittered that away by meeting Modi separately to discuss "loan waivers for farmers". Nobody knows what exactly transpired in the meeting and would naturally end up in eyebrows being raised. The fragile opposition lies shattered.
Even Manmohan Singh made more of a splash, when he termed demonetisation "organised loot and a monumental blunder" during his intervention in Parliament. It is baffling: where have all the leaders of the Congress gone? Where are their cadres? Or do they not have it anymore? And most importantly, somebody please tell Rahul Gandhi that he doesn't need an expose to take on the government. He just needs to harness the anguish and the strife that is already there.
The colossal failure of the drive is enough to make even the local addawala politician turn into a mass leader. Then why is it not happening? Why is the entire opposition unable to use the crisis and misery to their advantage?
Rahul Gandhi must start taking himself seriously and take the plunge and the jokes would stop automatically. He must go to the grassroots and reach out; the ammunition is already there. Stir up a movement. Just queuing up at an ATM would not suffice, although it was a good start. Stay there. Meet the people who are visiting. Go to the banks, where hundreds still line up since the break of dawn, with no guarantee that they would get their own hard-earned money. Talk to them.
Go to rural India which is reeling under the onslaught.
The demonetisation is a god-sent golden opportunity. The opposition couldn't have asked for more. Yet, people are not considering the Congress as a viable alternative. Why? The buck stops at the doors of Rahul Gandhi. It's not that he can't do it. But it surely needs more application of mind and perseverance than has been displayed till now.
But more than anything else, it needs the right intent and everything would fall into place. Sincerity of purpose can more than suffice for the lack of the gift of the gab. Sonia Gandhi was never a big talker but she still won the confidence of the people. Rahul doesn't need to look far. He can draw inspiration from his own mother.
By not seizing the opportunity, he has done injustice to India and the Congress party and continues to do so. Just imagine for a moment what would have happened had a mass leader like Jai Prakash Narayan been alive. He would have knocked down the doors of the Delhi durbar with his followers.
The incompetence of the opposition has resulted in an unprecedented situation where the ruling dispensation has amassed unmatched power. Driven with the new-found confidence, the BJP thinks it can now get away with anything. There has been further consolidation of power in the hands of one man; this is surely not a good sign for democracy.
India needs a strong opposition. There was no other time in history when this need was so strong. So, sir, will you please wake up and smell the coffee, or there would be none left to even sniff. And there is no time like the present for the Grand Old Party to get its act together. After all, it's Congress Day.