It was at short notice, but on February 17, journalists were called to attend a Rahul Gandhi press briefing at 10, Janpath, the official residence of his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. As journalists queued up for the usual security checks, the party old guard trooped in one by one—Mohsina Kidwai, A.K. Antony, Janardhan Dwivedi, M.L. Fotedar, Ambika Soni.... They were there for the party’s election committee meeting later and hung back at the briefing. Though Rahul once again disappointed (before most reporters were seated, he was in and out after pressing the point that it was he who had got the government to accept the one post, one pension demand, a long-standing grievance with the armed forces), the signals were clear—the young Gandhi would be the face, the voice and the mind of the Congress in this elections.
Be it the party website, TV promos or print ads, Rahul and his ideas are the party campaign. He’s the man calling the meetings for a more “inclusive party manifesto”, he’s the one meeting various sections of society in different cities and areas to shape it. Indeed, there seems to be no other recognisable faces visibly involved in these processes. At the same time, Rahul is also making changes at the organisational level, youths selected by him are the faces of the future, from district-level bodies to the national level. So there’s a Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, powering ahead of C.P. Joshi and Ashok Gehlot; there’s Arun Yadav and Jyotiraditya Scindia in MP rustling the likes of Digvijay Singh. (In fact, press releases notifying changes in the order—at all levels—have been frequent of late.)
Interestingly, the Congress is undergoing this overhaul just before a general election when the UPA-2 is battling weakening alliances and anti-incumbency. Is it then the right time for such experiments? “Of course, the party is undergoing a change; changes in the system, structure...we’re moving towards being a more open party. I am witnessing what we saw during Rajivji’s time. We were picked by him when we, the younger generation, were least known faces,” says party general secretary Digvijay Singh. He refuses to accept that there is any unease within the party. But then he adds a caveat, “It’s not good for anyone to be in the chair and then be disappointed or frustrated when it comes to handing over charge.” Another party voice close to Rahul says, “This is the right time to choose a new team. Newcomers should start taking up tasks when things are to be done from scratch.”
Congress insiders have another take on this. “This election isn’t going to be the defeat of Rahulji. Rather, if it happens the way the media is predicting, it would be the defeat of the UPA-2 coalition. Rahul will emerge as a more powerful leader in the party post-elections,” this leader says. So, with defeat an admitted possibility, there’s also some reluctance among senior leaders about facing elections this time. They are more keen on “helping the organisation”. But it can’t be helped, the party might ask some of them to contest anyway. Observers see this as an easier situation for Rahul to handle, as any ‘election losses’ would also stymie unrest.
Well, transitions are never smooth. The more important question is of the outcome and the timing of the change. Is this going to help the party in the upcoming elections or is this the start of preparations for the one after this? The party, and in some ways the country, is looking for answers to Rahul Gandhi. He has loads of work ahead.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
who are they saluting .. The Tricolour ? or the one who is absent in this motly group of white topiwalas, Shrimati Congress Adhyaksha ?
why are all these hypocrates wearing shoes and chappals while (pretending to) show respect to the flag ??
Respect for your flag and your motherland comes from the heart and these morons do not have a heart. they have an empty wallet in that place which never fills up, no matter how much money they eat.
2 D Pramod
The only one who counts, in the above frame, is a female - which explains the countless antimale laws she has forced the rest to sign up to.
Why does nt Rahul reserve nursing jobs for males, for a balance?
Males take to politics naturally - like feminists have captured most employment jobs, and nursing, for eg.
Why grudge males jobs that they have fought their lives for, by reserving it?
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