2019 Lok Sabha polls: Why we should ignore Rahul Gandhi at times

The fight for 2019 is clearly between BJP’s substance and Congress' hogwash.

 |  6-minute read |   29-08-2018
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In order to understand why Rahul Gandhi needs to be ignored at times, it is important to know why it is so tempting to attack him in the first place.

Well, for someone who has been an elected representative for 15 years now, Mr Gandhi’s sheer ignorance of the Indian system is appalling, to say the least. Let me explain with a few examples.

rahul-gandhi-copy1_082918043938.jpgRahul Gandhi has blamed the Modi government for its handling of the Doklam situation. He then said he didn't have much information on it. (Photo: Reuters)

During the no-confidence motion debate in Parliament on July 20, Gandhi ended up falsely (and mischievously) quoting the French President, imperiling the excellent relations that India and France share. During his recent visit to Germany, he ended up undoing the belaboured efforts of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi to wash away the stains of the party’s involvement in the 1984 bloodshed.

While he ridiculed the Indian government for "mishandling" Doklam, when he was asked how he would have handled the situation differently, he said he didn’t have much information on the topic. By his own admission thus, Rahul Gandhi confessed to spreading misinformation, while being ignorant about the issue. Gandhi’s attacks on the Rafale deal are equally fictitious, with his party inventing new imaginary figures every other day.

Let us not forget that Rahul Gandhi is himself out on bail on a rather murky case of alleged financial misappropriation involving the National Herald, an institution synonymous with India’s freedom struggle. Moreover, he is facing a court trial for spreading misinformation against the RSS.

The latest tweet from him, criticising the government action against certain Left-wing intellectuals associated with the banned outfit CPI(ML), only confirms his notorious agenda before 2019. For someone whose family has seen two macabre political assassinations, the least one could have expected from him was some amount of maturity and restraint in his reaction on this issue.

Gibberish, laden with obnoxious allegations, but packaged with puerile comic innocence, has unfortunately become the hallmark of Rahul Gandhi. When someone who aspires to challenge the PM stoops to such lows, his behaviour is obviously going to result in natural outrage from the ruling party. And hence, in the last five days, BJP spokespersons and voices have expectedly gone after Rahul Gandhi.

But there is a catch here.

With his provocative statements, aimed at inviting outrage, Mr Gandhi manages to be in circulation.

When his bluff is called, he plays victim and accuses the government of spreading hate. So, the person who actually should answer questions on intolerance, in no time, starts playing victim.

But what this actually does is, it helps the media shift the focus away from the world’s most ambitious social health care program – Ayushman Bharat – which is barely three weeks away from its launch. In May this year, the government tried setting the discourse through a comprehensive portal, where the performance dashboard provided a real-time updated status of all the social welfare initiatives undertaken by the government in the last four years.

modi11-copy_082918044106.jpgLooking forward: The fight for 2019 is clearly between BJP’s clarity and Congress’ incoherence. (Photo: PTI)

While the Congress has been critical of almost everything the government has done, it could not challenge the government on facts provided on that dashboard. Instead, Rahul Gandhi kept provoking us through claims, and we played ball.

Now, in the last few days, for no worthy reason, Gandhi has managed to get a disproportionate share of the media space. If gibberish is what can get Gandhi that primacy, so be it. But in this situation, I feel we must start ignoring Rahul Gandhi for a change, despite all the tempting provocations.

In order to bring the focus back on the government’s development agenda, we need to set the agenda for the day. It won’t be a bad idea to let the RSS take on Rahul Gandhi through a positive engagement. Even if Gandhi has not been formally invited for the reported event yet, it won’t be a bad idea to invite him to the RSS’ Dussehra event in Nagpur.

Keep inviting him to make him more aware of the BJP and RSS’s view of Indian civilisation. Let him keep rejecting these invitations and exposing his intolerance. That is the best way to call the bluff of Rahul Gandhi.

bhagwat-copy_082918044133.jpg It won’t be a bad idea to let the RSS take on Rahul Gandhi through a positive engagement. (Photo: PTI)

As for Gandhi’s disrespect for Indian systems, let three first-time BJP MPs take him on and explain how Gandhi’s absence from important debates in Parliament, his inability to ask questions or bring a private members’ bill in the last 15 years, has impacted the country’s political discourse negatively.

Gandhi is on a sticky wicket in Amethi. Let all local leaders in each Assembly block initiate a door-to-door campaign in order to educate the people of the constituency on how the Gandhis landed in the National Herald case, reportedly making huge profits out of it.

Debates in the national media often set the electoral discourse of the nation. And 2019 is crucial for the future of the country. We must make a conscious and strategised effort to take the discourse beyond the gibberish and allegations which Rahul Gandhi has been lately tutored to espouse.

poll-copy_082918045445.jpgPush the right buttons: We need to ensure the discourse for 2019 focuses on development, not allegations. (Photo: PTI)

Yes, it is our responsibility to set the record straight when Congress stooges call India Lynchistan or hallucinate about it turning into a 'Hindu Taliban'. Equally, we have a responsibility to bring the discourse back to the development/governance agenda. We can’t allow the discourse to shift away from the unprecedented social welfare schemes, unmatched infrastructure development and the path-breaking financial reforms undertaken in the last four years.

The fight for 2019 is clearly between BJP’s clarity and Congress’ incoherence. It is between substance and hogwash. It would thus help to ignore Gandhi’s desperate antics to be in the news.

Also read:'The many facets of Rahul Gandhi' fiasco shows Congress' lack of grasp of social media


Tuhin A Sinha Tuhin A Sinha @tuhins

Tuhin Sinha is a well known author and a national media panelist of BJP.

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