Interview COMMENTS
The French political scientist on what a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ forebodes for India.


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Digression
1
May 12, 2014
A Maiden Over, Nothing More?

What a disgraceful interview with Christophe Jaffrelot (‘The Congress itself is the big idea’). Sad to see what Outlook has come to after being a quality publication for so long. (I was one of its first subscribers.) It has clearly sold its soul to the Congress.

Radhanath Varadan, Hanoi, Vietnam

Amusing that the Congress has to rely on outsiders (so-called experts) for support.

Uday Sharma, Bangalore

The Congress can become a big idea (again) if it gets rid of the family. The latter has hijacked the party. Indira Gandhi was quick to get rid of privy purses for all the maharajas but kept it for herself and her family.

Priya Madhavan, Rochester

Jaffrelot is introduced as “an expert on India and the BJP”, but the whole dialogue is about the Congress and its essentiality. Since when did ‘political scientists’ start using phrases like opposition spewing venom and that too when the opposition has brought attention on to huge scams?

Abhijit Kane, Mumbai

What is this edition all about, eulogies for the late, unlamented Congress party?

Cdr Arun Visvanathan, Chennai

Order by HAVE YOUR SAY
1/D-77
Apr 19, 2014
02:17 PM
"Young Congressmen are prepared to take over on behalf of the country’s motto: ‘unity in diversity’. The party leaders should let them come up!........." Very funny. These young leaders are sons and daughters of congress politicians who have to pay obeisance to the Nehru Gandhi family (like the author is doing as well, but in a more crafty sort of manner)
MK Saini
Delhi, India
2/D-80
Apr 19, 2014
02:20 PM

Next step of XMSM - ' ‘The Congress Itself Is The Big Idea’  from an alien's mouth !

dinesh chauksey
BHOPAL, India
3/D-84
Apr 19, 2014
02:26 PM

So, the Outlook is now turning to two bit western academics to spread congressi propaganda? These westerners can sit in the comfort of their home countries and can mouth whatever they want about India because they don't have to live the disastrous consequences of the congress party and its corruption. The congress party is a disease afflicting india and a congress-free India is the best thing that can happen for the Indians; AAP is waiting in wings to take over as a national alternative. BJP and AAP are the future of India.  

Ravi Jain
Hyderabad, India
4/D-106
Apr 19, 2014
03:14 PM

"Young Congressmen are prepared to take over on behalf of the country’s motto: ‘unity in diversity’"

The Congress ( and BJP ) leadership wants to BAN males from contesting in half of Assembly seats. How is this supposed to be 'unity'?

Misogynist
Chennai, India
5/D-119
Apr 19, 2014
03:51 PM

Jeffrelot >>> The ‘big idea’, in fact, is the Congress itself! What is the alternative? A majoritarian and authoritarian form of dem­oc­racy in which the minorities are invited to be second-class citizens? (And what if they refuse?) Congress does not need ‘big ideas’ to reinvent itself; it has simply to be true to its creator, Mah­atma Gandhi, who shaped the party in 1920. Young Congressmen are prepared to take over on behalf of the country’s motto: ‘unity in diversity’. The party leaders should let them come up!

Exactly, but it is doubtful that Congress will re-invent itself under this Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. The INC that the Mahatma shaped or helped to shape through his mass appeals was hijacked by Nehru's daughter Indira in 1969. It is not the same party any more which is credited for India's independence. In fact, it has become and have operated like a family outfit. Since 1969 no one could challenge them. Those who tried like Narsimha Rao died in shame, and Sitaram Kesiri had to be bodily lifted and thrown out from his presidential chair in the party's office. The main reason for people' revulsion against this Congress is not just the corruption that has become the hall mark of its 10-year rule ironically under an Oxford economist PM respected all over the world, but an un-accountable family that calls all the shots from behind the door. This has resulted in policy-paralysis and a lame duck government that has lost its, and India's credibility. People in India are not fools, as this Congress can make of them all the time ...

Its long slow innings are over without much to show on the score board. It has to go now and sit in opposition to a BJP/NDA government under Modi for at least 5 years ... and reinvent if it can ...

Why would a Modi government want to shoot itself in foot treating minorities like Musilms second class? They are not fools either ... and India's civilisational etho of the Sarv Dharma Sambhav (not the pseudo-secularism as Congress and others use for their votes) and democracy will be safe under Modi ...


 

The Contrarian
London, United Kingdom
6/D-125
Apr 19, 2014
04:20 PM

What is this edition all about - Eulogies for the late unlamented Congress Party.? A little premature for all the whiners who have been predicting all sorts of things over the last two or three years only to find that they were wrong.

Bonita
Chennai, India
7/D-127
Apr 19, 2014
04:38 PM

Yawn..

Ramki_Uncensored
Delhi, India
8/D-130
Apr 19, 2014
04:47 PM

The Leftist intellectual types will surely miss their 10 years of wonderful club class lives that they lived with all the bills  being paid (fully) by the CON party...

Ramki_Uncensored
Delhi, India
9/D-161
Apr 19, 2014
07:13 PM

"It has been around 100 seats before and has reinvented itself."

That is the mistake everyone is making. Congress never reinvented itself. NDA lost 2004 because of TN and AP. All other reasons are BS. But the pundit class invented those reasons and Congress bought it wholesale.

Congress' idea of reinventing has always been bringing in a new member of the Nehru clan. Such tactics wont work anymore. India has moved beyond the dynasty.

Akash Verma
Chennai, India
10/D-170
Apr 19, 2014
08:51 PM

"The ‘big idea’, in fact, is the Congress itself! What is the alternative? A majoritarian and authoritarian form of dem­oc­racy in which the minorities are invited to be second-class citizens?" Jaffrelot

You have to wonder where these sahibs are when Hindus, Sikhs, and others are persecuted in Pakistan and just about every Muslim country. In Pakistan, we are officially classified as "dhimmis" but I have yet to see one of these great intellectuals from the West protest this. On the contrary, the same hypocrites will tell us that the onus is on us to make peace with Pakistan, and that will lead to better treatment of Hindus in Pakistan!

Ram Lala
Kavutaram, India
11/D-195
Apr 19, 2014
11:07 PM

> "no prime minister had been in office for 10 years in a row since Nehru, when communication was not as important as today. Today, nobody can rule that long and let opponents spread venom with­out reacting equally forcefully (if not vicio­usly). - Jaffrelot.

True! The Modi-Jaitley venom has not been answered with equal force. We see the results now.

>> Young Congressmen are prepared to take over on behalf of the country’s motto: ‘unity in diversity’.

Provided the dynasty does not stand in their way.

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
12/D-203
Apr 19, 2014
11:35 PM

"Congress does not need ‘big ideas’ to reinvent itself"

No, as a family centric party, it needs a vote magnet to emerge from within the family.

Their idea of reinventing themselves is by changing their surname. First it was Nehru, then it became Gandhi, next it will be Vadra...hopefully not. 

D.L.Narayan
Visakhapatnam, India
13/D-207
Apr 19, 2014
11:52 PM

"Today, nobody can rule that long and let opponents spread venom with­out reacting equally forcefully (if not vicio­usly)." 

What does Christophe Jaffrelot mean by "let opponents spread venom?"

1. Does he mean that criticism of corruption, populist policies like FSB and NREGA, for not taming inflation is "spreading venom?"

2. Is he saying that in a democracy, the opposition should not criticise the ruling party?

Outlook calls him a political scientist. He is nothing more than a lackey of the dynasty.

D.L.Narayan
Visakhapatnam, India
14/D-16
Apr 20, 2014
12:47 AM

Congress can become a big idea (again), if it gets rid of the family.

The family has hijacked the party.

When the rest of the country has to abide by the rules and follow a set of restrictions that they have imposed on school admission and college admissions, to access to jobs – this family which is the 'upper one quarter percent' of the one percent of the 'upper one percent' of the population has positioned themselves as the monarchs.

Indira Gandhi was quick to get rid of privy purses for all the Maharajas but kept it for herself and her family by controlling the party.

The Congress Party is going to face a lot of problems with this set up from India's youth.

At least in China they proclaim upfront that they are autocrats. In India, the Congress Party mouths democracy but follows the opposite.
 

Priya Madhavan
Rochester, United States
15/D-17
Apr 20, 2014
12:47 AM

what a disgraceful interview. sad to see what outlook has come to after being a quality publication for so long (i was one of its first subscribers when it started 20 years ago). it has clearly sold its soul to the congress. i don't think i'll bother to come back and read it ever again.

radhanath varadan
hanoi, vietnam
16/D-36
Apr 20, 2014
08:20 AM

"Today, nobody can rule that long and let opponents spread venom with­out reacting equally forcefully (if not vicio­usly). This is the age of television."

The constant refrain of succus these days is..........If only Manmohan had spoken more!! 

They forget the adage-actions speak louder than words. In Manmohan's case, his lack of actions did him in. 

Even if God had blessed him with an oratory of an Annadurai or a Vajpayee, he would not have amounted to much because he was lacking in the action dept.

Akash Verma
Chennai, India
17/D-37
Apr 20, 2014
08:24 AM

And as for oratory, Modi is not a great orator-he is simply an effective orator. I have heard Karunanidhi speak 20 years back and the man was a dynamite on stage. His language was flowery and was spell binding.

Modi's oratory has none of those qualities. But he is effective. And that effectiveness comes from his actions and track record. His answers on agriculture are a case in point. He actually knows the intricate details of farming. He does not merely reel out statistics. And that makes a difference.

Akash Verma
Chennai, India
18/D-49
Apr 20, 2014
11:19 AM

Congress is itself an idea...a stale, completely outdated idea competing with the smell of rotten eggs.

That Jaffrelot thinks that the congress of Lal.Bal, Pal Baapoo, Nehru-Patel and the current Dynasty is one and the same - is a testament to his ignorance- to say the least!

pankaj hedaoo
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
19/D-86
Apr 20, 2014
05:27 PM

CONGRESS ITSELF IS THE IDEA..

Indeed.. The Idea of how a small family can essentially hijack and decide the entire discourse of a nation and thrust its own pet  schemes on the entire nation of 120 crore peopl without going through democratic debate.. This is the IDEA that CONgress of today stands for.

Ramki_Uncensored
Delhi, India
20/D-116
Apr 20, 2014
09:18 PM

Christophe Jaffrelot has written quite extensively on India and BJP. He is a serious scholar, but not everyone here in this forum will agree with him.  In a journal called "Democratization", he has an article which traces the evolution of BJP.  But even his own data suggest that BJP has mellowed over the years and has become more moderate - driven by strategic (or at times tactical) considerations and the moderating influence of coalition allies. 

Modi has the riots of 2002 as an albatross around his neck.  His critics will not let go of that.  As prime minister he will be aware that the whole world will be watching him.  He wants to modernize India and rapidly grow its economy, which cannot happen without investment and economic cooperation from the West.  This means Modi will tread the moderate path. 

In his work Jaffrelot does not examine the negative effects of nearly 6 decades of Congress rule.  A single family controlling the country for such a long time is just not good for a democracy.  Legislation that has far-reaching implications, both economically and socially, are introduced at the behest of an unconstitutional body (NAC), which has allowed Sonia to control government policy without accountability.  Agencies that are supposed to operate independently, without fear or favour to anyone, such as the CBI, have become pawns in the hands of the ruling family.  India has seen the most corrupt 10 years in its history. The economy is in shambles.  The ruling party is bereft of ideas.  Since the mid 1970s (starting with Emergency), the Congress party has done more harm than good for India.  

It is interesting to see how the media in India has helped Congress to equate Hinduism with communalism.  Sonia goes to a Muslim cleric asking for support to defeat the forces of communalism!  Rajnath Singh attacks Sonia for meeting Muslim clerics, but then goes and meets some of them himself! Such is the irony of politics in India. 

As R. Jagannathan pointed out in Firstpost yesterday, India is best described as a pluralistic society.  Strict separation of "church and state" does not work in India.  Given India's culture and history, it probably never will.  Politicians wearing religious symbols (tilak, cross, skullcaps etc.) is so common in India.  I remember in the Talwar case, the judge who sentenced the parents (who are Hindus) quoted elaborately from the Quran and Bible. It is very hard to remove religion from the public sphere in India.  What India should work towards is building an egalitarian and pluralistic society, where all citiziens, irrespective of religion or caste, are treated equally.

Ram
Halifax, Canada
21/D-126
Apr 20, 2014
10:05 PM
@ram, halifax "In his work Jaffrelot does not examine the negative effects of nearly 6 decades of Congress rule. " --- I've only read the occasional article by this person and they have a familiar style. He doesn't seem to understand the growth of the BJP and why it is happening. Its why Jaffrelot cannot be described as a serious scholar. He seems to regard the BJP as some kind of disease that needs watching. And he doesn't critically examine the role of the Congress because he probably considers it as the default. I guess he bought into the Nehruvian idea of India at one point, when he started his career. This unfortunately is typical of many western scholars - they are really orientalist in thinking, and can't believe that Indians can rule themselves. Their academic style is really a façade.
MK Saini
Delhi, India
22/D-18
Apr 21, 2014
01:34 AM

"The ‘big idea’, in fact, is the Congress itself! "

The problem today is -Congress has become a big family controlled business. It is not a political party.

Akash Verma
Chennai, India
23/D-42
Apr 21, 2014
06:50 AM

I know.  Outlook is striving to be a fair and balanced magazine.  So soon I expect Outlook to publish interview of pro-BJP french reporter whom we all know.

P.B. Joshipura
Suffolk, Virginia, United States
24/D-50
Apr 21, 2014
08:02 AM

What he is saying?  The opposition would spread venom and the ruling party cannot or would not respond?  Has he seen and read who spreads so much venom?  Who constantly call Narendra Modi, Hitler, Idi Amin, Mussolini, mass murderer, Maut Ka Saudagar?  And that is just a small sample.  In the past there had been a Congress wave many times.  BJP never resorted to such faul language, but this time the situation is reverse and Modi's opposition has lost minds, hearts, kidneys, livers you name it and they have lost it.  They have become dead men/women walking.

P.B. Joshipura
Suffolk, Virginia, United States
25/D-54
Apr 21, 2014
08:55 AM

www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/is-india-about-to-elect-its-reagan/article5931362.ece

'I must admit that as an outside observer, I often find the terms of debate in India’s mainstream media to be confusing. As I understand it, if you favour allowing citizens to be treated differently on the basis of their religious beliefs, then you are an open-minded “secularist.” If, on the other hand, you favour treating all citizens equally under the law, without regard to their religion, then you are a “religious extremist.” It is comforting to learn that my country is not the only one with a mainstream media that uses Orwellian doublespeak to support its left-leaning agenda. (And I say that with all apologies and due respect to this great newspaper, which has kindly offered me a forum!)

It is a testament to the tolerance of India’s Hindu-majority society that it hosts several flourishing communities of other faiths. Neighbouring Pakistan, by contrast, is a highly inhospitable environment for those who don’t subscribe to the majority religion. The religious minority communities that have managed to survive there are tiny and constantly under siege. Bangladesh has similar problems. When critics lob the accusation that Mr. Modi is “intolerant” of religious minorities, they are certainly not applying the standards that prevail in the region.'

Mohan
Kutch, India
26/D-60
Apr 21, 2014
10:00 AM

David Cohen, writing in The Hindu says,

"American elites frequently resort to name-calling when facts and reason fail them."

Does our inveterate name-caller, a certain Mr. Anwaar of Dallas, Texas, USA, belong to the American elites?

D.L.Narayan
Visakhapatnam, India
27/D-76
Apr 21, 2014
12:09 PM

Amusing Congress has to rely on outsiders (so called experts) for support.

Uday Sharma
Bangalore, India
28/D-102
Apr 21, 2014
03:55 PM

"The Party leaders should let them come up"

With the kind of self goals that Rahul and his baba log have been scoring, Modi should thank Mama Sonia for giving the Baba in chief (Rahul ) a free hand for any improvement in BJP numbers.

Rahul is dense and frankly disoriented. Giving him a free rein has been the biggest mistake Sonia has made. She should have nurtured grassroots leaders instead of Beta but finally Rome ho ya Delhi, Beta toh beta hota hai !!!!

After her the deluge !!!!

We are still waiting for that brainwave from Rahul " Which we cannot even imagine "

We are waiting with bated breath, all we get is one flop after another which is furthur discreiting the congress. 

Portryaing Rahul and giving him exposure has only exposed the dynastic sucession principle and its inadequacies.

Now everyone kows the Emperor is truly naked 

saccha admi
mumbai, India
29/D-103
Apr 21, 2014
04:16 PM

Is India about to elect a Reagan ?

Or a Thatcher ?

Ronald Wilson Reagan, the two time 40th US President, and Margaret Hilda Thatcher, the longest serving British PM of 20th century who won 3 consecutive elections for the Conservative party since 1979, both rose from humble origins. Like Modi, a humble chaiwala’s son, Reagen was born in a 2nd story Illinois apartment and Thatcher in a grocers’ home in a little town Grantham, in rural Lincolnshire, England. Both rose, Reagen to serve as the governer of California for 8 years and Thatcher to a cabinet minister and leader of opposition, before their election to their country’s top office in 1979-80.

“A major common denominator” between the two and Modi “is the nature of their detractors. Like the U.S. [and Britain], India has cultural elitists who seem to desperately crave the approval of their former colonial masters in Europe. The Indian cultural elite despises Modi every bit as much as the American cultural elite despised Reagan”, and their British equivalents Thatcher. “They look down their noses at Modi, cringing at the thought of being led by a common “tea seller” who can barely speak English. (Can you imagine Chinese or Russian citizens, proud of their own heritage, being ashamed that their leaders don’t speak English?)”

Like Reagen and Thatcher who took strong stand against the Soviet Union, “Modi promises to be tough against Pakistan sponsored terrorism. In this regard, Americans would do well to remember that the Islamists are not fighting against the ‘West’. Islamists are fighting against all non-Islamic societies. India is very much on the front lines of what we used to call the War on Terror, before our leaders lost the nerve to name it. Modi with his assertive posture against Pakistan – reminiscent of Reagan’s stance against the Soviet Union – should be a valuable natural ally.”

There is little point in detailing what Reagen and Thatcher achieved ... they changed the course of history which ushered in a long economic boom for the West (and the world).
 

read dailycaller.com/2014/04/14/is-india-about-to-elect-its-reagan/

The Contrarian
London, United Kingdom
30/D-104
Apr 21, 2014
04:18 PM

Jaffrelot is introduced as an "expert on India & BJP". But the whole dialogue is about How Congress & its essentiality. Since when did "Political Scientists" start using terms like "Opposition Spewing Venom" etc. & that too when opposition exposed the huge scams? Lastly does an "expert analyst" from India get such space in France or even in Uganda? 

Abhijit Kane
Mumbai, India
31/D-105
Apr 21, 2014
04:24 PM

The Absentee Journalism

Minhas Merchant observes quite poignantly that:

“The contrast with the Western media’s coverage of the Congress is stark. Its 10-year tenure, laced with serial UPA scams, is lightly treated. Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez have been excoriated for years but the Gandhi dynasty – including the suddenly wealthy Robert Vadra – is treated with kid gloves.

Nuestions are asked by the Western media about Vadra’s land deals. No probing stories are written on Sonia or Rahul’s secretive trips abroad. Ten years of the UPA and not one serious investigative story on the corruption, nepotism and feudal politics of the Congress has sprung from the West’s otherwise combative print and TV media.

Why might this be so? The Western media is disproportionately influenced by India’s “liberal” establishment comprising a left-leaning clutch of academics, journalists, NGOs and activists. This motley crew too rarely gets outraged over the UPA government’s corruption or farmer suicides in Congress-governed states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. It reserves its anger – transmitted to sympathetic global ears – for the “danger” Modi poses to Indian democracy.”

read: blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/headon/entry/modi-why-western-media-still-doesn-t-get-it
 

The Contrarian
London, United Kingdom
32/D-109
Apr 21, 2014
05:18 PM

David Cohen's op-ed in The Hindu is worth reading.  It exposes the hypocrisy of the Indian "elite". The Reagan-Modi comparison is interesting, but I hope Modi doesn't go as far right as the Tea Party has done.  India is a lot more complex than the US.  Modi has to govern from the centre if he becomes the PM, which is what he seems to be promising in his speeches.

Ram
Halifax, Canada
33/D-133
Apr 21, 2014
07:00 PM

Nuestions >>> correction: No questions

The Contrarian
London, United Kingdom
34/D-137
Apr 21, 2014
07:35 PM

Ram, Halifax, Canada

The Modi-Reagen comparison is only metaphoric. But similarities in their critiques are starkly the same ... of course Modi's task is lot more complex than Reagen or Thatcher because of India's ethnic diversity  ... but in 1980's who dared take on the might of the Soviet Union or the British Labour Unions ...

The Contrarian
London, United Kingdom
35/D-34
Apr 22, 2014
01:39 AM

"Is India about to elect a Reagan ?"

Neither Reagan nor Thatcher was ever complicit in the massacre of his/her own citizens. The writer is a hack from the Bush administration. The web publication Daily Caller is a right wing nut job. I don't know what made "The Hindu" carry this stupid article!

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
36/D-35
Apr 22, 2014
01:44 AM

"The Absentee Journalism"

Comparing the Gandhi/Nehru dynasty with Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez shows that Minhas Merchant has lost both his integrity and his sanity!

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
37/D-81
Apr 22, 2014
10:20 AM

Neither Reagan nor Thatcher sold tea on railway platforms nor were they celibates nor were they third world politicians. So what? The writer is talking of economic ideas and the Oracle of Dallas comes up with a trademark non-sequitur.

Instead of characteristically launching an ad hominem attack on David Cohen, come up with a point by point rebuttal. Surely it is not asking for the moon.

D.L.Narayan
Visakhapatnam, India
38/D-115
Apr 22, 2014
12:09 PM

D.L.narayan

>> Instead of characteristically launching an ad hominem attack on David Cohen, come up with a point by point rebuttal.

Point by point rebuttal of a hack job from a worthless rag?

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
39/D-131
Apr 22, 2014
12:59 PM

>>Neither Reagan nor Thatcher was ever complicit in the massacre of his/her own citizens.

Neither is Modi, the barks of jihadis notwithstanding.

RSM
Delhi, India
40/D-118
Apr 23, 2014
03:34 PM

Cohen makes an excellent observation  about the snobbery of India's so called intellectual elite vis--a-vis Modi.  They cannot accept that a son of a tea seller, with no English literature background, can become the prime minister.

Jaffrelot, incidentally, belongs to a phase of French society and culture, that cannot accept India coming up, and surpassing France in many areas. So they will bring India down in some manner or other. The French have a narcissistic sense of their own importance, and they see India as an upstart third world country.  They will thus issue pompous proclamations including judging India on 'press freedom'( reporters without borders) and on secularism.  The French, being pompous, cannot walk in India's shoes, and assess how they would do things differently. Yet, France itself is hardly the best model for secularism and tolerance i.e the Romas.

Varun Shekhar
Toronto, CANADA
41/D-126
Apr 23, 2014
04:14 PM

Mr CHRISTOPHE JAFFRELOT

Completely erroneous understanding of India and the time!!

Congress does not need ‘big ideas’ to reinvent itself; it has simply to be true to its creator, Mah­atma Gandhi, Congress needs big idea to re-invent itself. You you talk of creator MK Gandhi then it was his idea to disband the party as it has become a group of self-seekers and interest groups. Today it is the voice of that extreamly corrupt India. The simple thing that you talked it impossible thing for this party. Have you thought why many senior congress party leaders are not willing to contest, they see defeat. The corrupt and useless Mother-Son duo does not inspire confidence not even among Congressmen. This election is referendum for those group in Congress party. So it will re-invent after this defeat.   Do you wish to write for such a useless party?   2>You have a very poor understanding of who treats minority badly Congress or BJP. Devote some time to understand it before you write. Otherwise people will dig the French civilisation or your connection.                 
vimal
Munich, Germany
42/D-182
Apr 23, 2014
11:46 PM

Fail, epic fail. Unity in diversity? you, sir, are a french fry

Don Quixote
Rody, India
43/D-125
Apr 25, 2014
08:02 PM

One last but not the least question: I never said, “The Congress Itself Is The Big Idea.”

Answer: I know that but my masters concluded it from our interview. I am just doing my job.
 

P. Paul
Kartarpur, India
44/D-124
May 23, 2014
07:20 PM

Horrible corruption did congress in. It may recover in future if it mends its ways. How will it demonstrate good governance?

Parthasarathy Shakkottai
Long Beach, United States
45/D-129
Sep 03, 2014
08:35 PM

" Congress without the Gandhis
By Pritish Nandy, Mumbai Mirror | Sep 3, 2014, 12.00 AM IST


One of the first things everyone agrees upon in private and denies in public is that the Congress party has reached such a sorry state because of the Gandhis who currently run it. Even Congressmen now admit to it. But as they fear the wrath of the dynasty, they avoid saying it in the open. It remains but an unspoken verity.

You have to read Natwar Singh's autobiography to figure how Rajiv single-handedly got India into such an awful mess in Sri Lanka, and Natwar (you must remember) was as ardent a Rajiv fan as you will get. Till of course Sonia managed to rile him.

Natwar's book tells you as much about the Camelot years as it does about Sonia and the fall of the Congress. It is the first stone. More will be cast I am sure. By others.

Till now all the fault lines in the party were blamed on others. Manmohan Singh got the brunt of it. He was for Sonia what Sanjay was to Indira. The perfect fall guy, the man everyone came to hate. It was a deliberate strategy to show him up as a wimp who ran away from the battlefield. As the man who let the party down. Short of calling him corrupt, a charge that few would buy into, every other insult was directed at him through a pliant party apparatus and a submissive media looking for someone to target in a season of endless scams where billions were --

Since the media was too scared to take on the Gandhis, they chose the safer option. They targeted Manmohan and, like a fool, he allowed himself to be led to slaughter. From there began the rise of Narendra Modi, the man the nation chose to throw the Gandhis out. Modi was charismatic. He was seen as powerful, decisive. So the electorate decided he could do the job the media and the Congress party had failed to. From that choice came Modi's real power. Not from the BJP or the RSS. Not from Hindutva. Modi was the man, India decided, who could rescue our politics from the grip of the Gandhis. He had an equal reputation for ruthlessness. It was steel for steel. Modi versus the Gandhis. The BJP and Congress were only observers. ''

www.mumbaimirror.com/columns/columnists/Congress-without-the-Gandhis/articleshow/41545887.cms

ashok kumar ghai
Mumbai, India
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