Image: Mid day
Rahul Gandhi sees himself as an instrument of change. His prescriptions are overbearing: change the constitution and so on. The Congress Party waits with bated breath to listen to his sermons. He does that often, sometimes from the floor of the house, reading out prepared text like a school boy for fifteen minutes in a monotone, with his pseudo-intellectual coterie of advisers, young men of a similar description, some of them are MPs, clap in approval with sycophancy gleaming in their eyes.
Rahul has said that he does not utter a word on an issue unless he has given it a due consideration, perhaps this explains why it took him this long, he is MP for last seven years, to realize that graft was at the root of the political system.
41 years old Rahul Baba, party general secretary in charge of IYC and the National Students' Union of India (NSUI), declared, "People talk about corruption,” we are glad to know that they do, further, “The biggest corruption is in our political system," (now we know) he said addressing a two-day convention of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) attended by some 8,000 young elected office-bearers.
He urged his foot-soldiers in the Youth Congress to join politics to cleanse the system.
Home minister P. Chidambaram, the oldest person present, whose election to the current Lok Sabha is still speculated as a fraud on democracy with allegations to this effect made by none other than the current chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha, said, "Elders at some point of time must step back and give way to younger leaders." As if he holding a position in the government is at the mercy of his sweet will.
Anyways, lets deal with Rahul here. He called for a comprehensive change, youth should take charge, he asserted: "Youth Congress has zero tolerance for corruption and we commit ourselves to fight corruption at all levels."
He perhaps meant that old Congressmen do not. The senior congressmen who are running the the government, in fact, have great tolerance for corruption. We have seen the 2G scam. CWG scam was carried out with some kind of statutory impunity. No real action has been taken. Small fishes are being grilled while the real big fishes grin. Read my first cover story for Open Magazine WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT SHEILA DIKSHIT (http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/why-is-nobody-talking-about-sheila-dikshit) to understand what I am taking about.
To me what Rahul now says about corruption is a rude joke. I appreciate his candour on corruption in politics, but this lip service is too late and too little. Nation wants to see government act against the corrupt. But people fail to understand how can a government act against itself? Rahul's misplaced candour lacks sincerity. He should first set his own house in order, that is the Congress lead UPA government, and not deflect the issue on opposition and civil society
This whole debate that “Constitution and the institution of Parliament” are being undermined by having a strong anti-graft law is so funny and farcical. He says, “All attempts that are being made to denigrate them by Opposition parties and some civil society groups." The UPA government is doing a great service to “Constitution and the institution of Parliament” by not acting against corrupt because most of the accused are the members of this august Parliament.
It is a different matter, though, that in our Constitution 'we the people' is sovereign, not the Parliament.
Hitting out at civil society that gave UPA--a very corrupt patronizing and conviction starved government--sleepless nights would not help. A strong anti-graft law that makes corruption a less safe crime is good for the Constitution and for the democracy. Rahul should know that nearly a trillion US dollar of public money is stashed in foreign banks thanks to the unholy nexus of politician-corporate-bureaucrat. To get it back will require more than a considered opinion aired at a captive audience.
Rahul made certain politically motivated statements thinking that the people of Uttar Pradesh (will soon have assemble elections) in specific and people of this country in general are blinking idiots. He called for "inclusive politics" which is all about inviting a Dalit and minority communities on the podium to address the gathering. Mere tokenism. So banal, lacks imagination, thinking and vision.
He also defined the difference between Congressmen and their political rivals. "In other parties, senior leaders command and junior leaders obey. But in the Congress all members come to the party on their ability and strength. Not one of you has come from the sky through a parachute. You know what I mean by that," he said. Well we do know what he means by that. His entire youth congress office bearers, in all the states, are from some political family or the other. He himself would not have been a prime candidate for the prime minister’s post had he not belonged to the Gandhi dynasty. A dynasty driven party lectures others on internal party democracy is unpalatable.
While Rahul was celebrating risibly internal party democracy, his own aid reaffirming that Congress Party and the Gandhi family are synonymous. AICC general secretary Birender Singh, also a Rajya Sabha member from Haryana, son of a renowned Congress leader Neki Ram (mini dynasty), made a strong case that the Congress was weakened whenever the hand of the Nehru-Gandhi family was not with it. “The party, which had witnessed many splits, had remained united since Sonia Gandhi took over as it chief," went on to say "If anything can ensure Congress success, especially in adverse circumstances, it will be your (Rahul's) leadership."
Jai ho Rahul baba ki.