Gaffe by AICC chief
Gaffe by AICC chief

Leaders are not made, they emerge’ is an adage. Yes, leaders are emerging young and educated and who look modern and sophisticated. But what is missing is dynamism and wisdom, too. They are often exhibiting their naivete both at national and international fora and refuse to listen to seniors. Besides, they are letting themselves be misguided by their new mentors. 

Political strategies should be thoroughly discussed and chalked out, in keeping with people’s aspirations and ground realities. But, these young leaders are drafting strategies in war rooms and boardrooms and merely parroting speeches, based on the inputs by so-called political strategists, a new breed of tech-savvy consultants claiming to know people’s pulse. This will cost dearly, as has been the case with the latest public meet of Rahul Gandhi. 

The AICC president, who in recent times appeared to have honed oratorial skills and made people believe he was emerging as an effective leader, is of late scoring self-goals, and slipping on popularity chart. At an interaction in London, Rahul committed a blunder which threatens to alienate Sikhs from the Congress. He said his party had no role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. This is akin to rubbing a combination of salt, pepper and chilly powder on the wounds of Sikhs. It took nearly 34 years for the Sikhs to come to terms with what has happened and condone the Congress, but with this one statement, Rahul has touched the wrong nerve and rekindled memories of those ghastly incidents. He must be around 14 when the riots took place. Surely, he would have known at least something about the inside story about the riots. 

The Anti-Sikh riots were not a tremor caused by felling of a huge tree as the Congress initially claimed following assassination of Indira Gandhi. It was not a spontaneous outburst of anger. It was a well-orchestrated attack. Indira was shot dead around 9 am or so and she was rushed to AIIMS in New Delhi. I was eyewitness to the day’s developments as I was present at the AIIMS when she was brought in. Till about 4 pm, there was no trouble in Delhi, though unofficially it was known that she was no more.  But a little later riot broke out. There was no end to stone pelting, looting of shops and attacks on Sikhs for three days. Police were mute spectators. However, non-Sikhs rose to the occasion and saved the vulnerable from attacks. They guarded their colonies, armed with sticks etc., to prevent goons from attacking their colonies. 

Local Congress leaders like HKL Bhagat and Sajjan Kumar were allegedly behind these riots. In fact, in informal talks later they did hint the attacks were originally organised but soon everything went out of hands. Subject to correction, former AICC president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh apologised for the tragic incidents. 

Rahul didn’t think it fit to recall the events but blurted out a lie. A good leader deals with unpalatable queries cleverly and avoids giving ammunition to the opposition. Sadly for Congress, its chief let his immaturity be known to all, once again.

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