Saturday, May 2, 2015

Pappu Banking On Perpetuating Poverty

Rahul banking on perpetuating poverty to revive Congress?-By Amulya Ganguli 
From being caught snoozing in parliament to spending time in a mysterious hideout to the current photo-ops with tillers of the soil, Rahul Gandhi has been acquiring a whole range of political experience. The problem with his present frenetic pace, however, is that the question is bound to be asked as to how long he can keep it up, not the least because any slackening will provoke sceptics to reiterate the charge against him of being a part-timer.

But it isn't only his penchant to swing from one extreme to another - absenteeism as a parliamentarian to speaking almost on a daily basis - which will be queried as his present combative political line. While his leftist tilt is evident, what may well be awaited is the extent to which he moves in this direction which is at odds with his party's "neo-liberal" economics of the last quarter of a century.

Of equal interest will be to see whether Rahul will be given a free hand in this matter by his party or whether he will be reined in after some time.

For instance, will the Congress allow the heir apparent to continue his present tirades against businessmen since this will mean alienating a highly influential sector? In addition, there is the question of electoral funds for which most parties are dependent on the corporate czars.

Besides, it is not the Congress's style to be so aggressively either Leftist or Rightist. Traditionally, the 130-year-old party has followed the middle path.
Indeed, its characteristic moderation has been its USP although the party always had both Leftists and Rightists in its ranks, such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel or Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai (before he left the Congress).

For the present, Rahul's main charge is that the Narendra Modi government is grabbing land from the peasants to repay the capitalists who had allegedly bankrolled his election campaign.
Such snide insinuations can win applause at public meetings, but the backroom boys of the Congress (and other parties) will be unhappy about the fallout, especially during private interactions with the business community.

There is another difficulty. In focussing on the agricultural sector, Rahul is venturing into a minefield where every point of argument has more than one counterpoint.
Not surprisingly, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman slyly indicated that his party was waiting for the dauphin to slip up because of his simplistic approach to the subject and lack of intellectual ability.

A hint that a gaffe is possible is available from the limited nature of Rahul's question-and-answer sessions with media personnel where the only points which he makes are that the farmers are in distress and that an uncaring government is in the hands of capitalists. After that, it is dhanyavad and goodbye.

No comments: