At 46, Rahul Gandhi has nothing to show on his CV except, perhaps, the secret destruction of the country's oldest political party — the Congress. If that is his mission, he's accomplished it beyond measure.
Gandhi perhaps has more defeats to his credit than any other leader and yet he chose to do a familiar vanishing act after the Congress's debacle in Uttar Pradesh.
His ally Akhilesh Yadav, on the other hand, held a press conference where he gracefully accepted defeat and refused to blame the Congress, which had bargained for a 100-plus seats (but won only seven). This election has also seen the Congress vote share slip to a historic low in UP.
So, was Gandhi sitting next to his ally?
He's performed a vanishing act. Congress sources say that he's not flown off abroad, a familiar party anxiety, but is in seclusion refusing to say much.
|Leaders can be judged by the way they treat their dispirited cadres.|
Leaders can be judged by the way they treat their dispirited cadres. Both Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal faced awful defeats, but were there to console their party cadres and take questions from the media. Politics is a 24/7 job. You cannot be an occasional politician unlike Gandhi — showing spurts of activity and then remaining dormant for months.
Gandhi refused to serve in Manmohan Singh's government which would have been a valuable learning. He claimed his dream job was UP CM, yet bottled it when Prashant Kishor suggested him to be the candidate.
His record in Parliament is dismal. The CV remains pristine with nothing, but dynasty. This time around, the BJP defeated him resoundingly in his pocket borough of Amethi and Rae Bareli. So, what are his un-entitled ambitions based on?
With Sonia Gandhi abroad to undergo treatment for her mysterious ailment, nobody is minding the Congress party, which has managed to snatch a defeat from Goa and Manipur despite being the single-largest party (SLP).
The Congress kept holding meetings unable to decide on the leader with the all important high command unavailable, and the BJP displaying a will power to beat them to it.
Gandhi, the permanent heir apparent, is quiet with not even a token protest against what his party describes as the "murder of democracy" — forget about leading street protests even as Robert Vadra is condemning the BJP.
It's about time that Gandhi called it quits on his non-starter political career which has been re-launched more times than he would have had hot breakfasts.
It's fairly clear that the young aspirational India does not get Gandhi's dilettante entitled charms. They are not amused at his forays into issues as a part-time politician seemingly acting out of "noblesse oblige".
Gandhi, to put it simply, is not taken seriously as a politician. He has not earned his spurs by winning even one election for the Congress, except in 2009 in Uttar Pradesh.
The reason the Gandhis were allowed to treat the party as a family fiefdom with their name engraved on the top job was that they won elections for the party. That is not the case anymore.
Gandhi has taken a series of disastrous decisions to the point where angry Goa MLAs are saying that the "leadership has reduced them and the mandate to a joke".
The Goa MLAs only echoed the sentiments of Himanta Biswas Sarma, who was insulted by Gandhi despite the fact that he who could have won Assam for the Congress and is now running amok against the party in the entire Northeast.
Sarma walked out of the Congress after Gandhi paid more attention to his dog than him, and vowed to defeat the Congress in Assam. He joined the BJP and kept his word and is now spearheading government formation in Manipur in a historic first for the BJP.
But, does the Congress care? Not really. Its delusional workers say "that Gandhi's dog's so cute that Sarma never stood a chance".
Yes, that's true. They insult mass leaders with such sneers. The question is why is Gandhi running a political party and not a kennel or a pet shop if that's where his passion lies? Why is he inflicting his reluctance on an important political party?
It's time his doting mother Sonia Gandhi realised that enough is enough and Gandhi will never be a natural politician. She should allow him to follow his heart.
Even within the Congress, there are enough leaders who are passionate politicians. Why can't the Gandhis take over as mentors and give them a chance? A whole generation of politicians has been culled because no one in the party could be allowed to outshine Gandhi.
And that would hardly take any effort, you have a silent miserable sullen lot of younger leaders watching with dismay their future slipping away.
They occasionally vent their frustration as Milind Deora did by blaming the voters of Mumbai who he said preferred "pot holes". What he did not seem to get with his privilege is that they chose potholes rather than the Congress.
Gandhi has his own "mysterious" choices and people, something that perplexes the few genuine political brains in the party. Shiv Sena defector Sanjay Nirupam is given a pride of place in Mumbai despite debacle after debacle. BJP defector SS Vaghela is Gandhi's chosen one in the critical state of Gujarat. Similarly, Mohan Prakash and other sundry lightweights lord it over decision-making while mass leaders like Captain Amrinder Singh, who won Punjab despite Gandhi, are not liked.
Sandeep Dikshit openly said that he did not think Gandhi was a mass leader, yet when asked if Gandhi should resign, he simply said: "I am not Rahul Gandhi."
At this point with Gandhi emerging as Modi's biggest secret weapon, it's time to call it quits before even a supine Congress party rebels.
India deserves a decent opposition party and Gandhi a graceful exit.
It's time, Rahul Gandhi follows his heart, which these days seems to be set on marathon cycling, rather than puncturing the SP's cycle, or spoiling the chances of some other ally for that matter.