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AK lesson to RaGa

AK lesson to RaGa
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Malladi Rama Rao: Kejirwal Lesson to Rahul Gandhi, Both Kejirwal and Rahul Gandhi are searching for the Belchi moment to bounce back on the centre...

Both Kejirwal and Rahul Gandhi are searching for the Belchi moment to bounce back on the centre stage. Rahul visited Badaun, which has shot into headlines after two girls became victims of lust of neighbourhood boys. Unlike his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, who had made her way to the Bihar village on an elephant (This helped her regain power), Rahul went by road and returned by road. As at the hustings, in Badaun also, he did not grab the headlines. In fact, that honour goes to Mayawati, who followed the Congress party’s crown prince, and held forth on Father-Son misrule. Still, it was not her Belchi moment either.

Behenji, as Mayawati is addressed by the BSP rank and file, wants the Samajwadi Party government to be shunted out of Lucknow Sachivalaya. Prime Minister Modi is in no mood to oblige her just as he is unwilling to accept Ram Vilas Paswan’s demand for sacking the JD-U government in Bihar. All the three are playing their own short-term games. For Modi, of course, what matters is his survival in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP and its allies are woefully short of numbers. His call for cooperative federalism is, therefore, a thinly veiled invitation for trade-offs with regional parties. It is his game to slowly wean away the regional satraps from the Congress sphere of influence and further the plan of isolating the GOP on the national scene.

Will NaMo succeed? He may because the Congress today is dominated by not leaders with the Midas touch but managers, who are comfortable with backroom ops. To shine in parliamentary politics and on the floor of parliament, one has to put in a lot of home work every day, anticipate things and be ready with an offensive weapon always. One cannot corner the treasury benches by simply reading the headlines of newspapers, as the Congress floor leaders had hoped in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha the other day when the garrulous retired Army Chief V K Singh provided them an opportunity.

V K, now a lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, and a minister for NE and NRI affairs, was at his tweeter best when he denounced the Army Chief designate, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, with whom he has several scores to settle. The provocation for his outburst was the Defence Ministry’s stand in the Supreme Court that VK’s attempt to block Suhag’s promotions was illegal and incorrect. Technically speaking, the NDA government is simply echoing the stand taken by its UPA predecessor. But the defence ministry is headed by BJP heavy weight, Arun Jaitley, who was a party to the decision to admit VK into BJP and to field him from Ghaziabad constituency, close to the national capital. Whoever had prepared the VK denouncement – affidavit cannot be unaware of his induction into the Modi cabinet.

Put simply, the Congress leaders-cum-managers have been gifted with a second weapon to beat the NaMo sarkar in less than a month. The first weapon was the ‘discrepancy’ in the educational qualifications of NDA’s star HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

The NDA is still shy of explaining why the erstwhile small screen “Bahu” gave wrong information in a solemn undertaking about her educational qualification. For the voter, it matters little whether she is a 12th class pass or a graduate.

Ministers need no degrees but common sense and an ability to read the pulse of the people. This is what Kamaraj had proved beyond doubt first in his home state Tamil Nadu, and later on in Delhi. As Kushwant Singh said in his Illustrated Weekly days, Indira Gandhi was not qualified enough even to get the job of a peon. Neither of her two sons – Rajiv and Sanjay – was graduates. If we go by Uma Bharti rants, even Sonia Gandhi is not a graduate. So, the GOP’s spokesmen like Ajay Maken climbed a wrong tree when they targeted Smriti’s educational qualification; they didn’t press the affidavit discrepancy, and made a hasty retreat. Well, what can you expect from event managers whose expertise is limited to court intrigue.

L’affaire VK has the same message. Lame-duck MMS Sarkar appointed Suhag as the Army chief. And the BJP, which was racing to power (then), roundly criticised the decision. The appointment has smacked of favouritism, as a senior Army officer, Lieutenant General Ravi Dastane, who has been fighting against Suhag in a service matter since 2012, told the Supreme Court. Yet, Jaitley-led ministry of defence has roundly criticised VK, and he in turn brutally battered the MoD and Suhag.
A perfect setting to draw BJP blood but the Congress party’s leaders in Parliament could not think beyond the usual cliché - resignation of Minister VK. Even that demand became muted after Jaitley took the high moral ground that the appointment of Army chief should be treated above politics.

Well, it cannot be anybody’s case that the Congress has no stalwarts who have cut their teeth in the din of parliamentary debates. For instance, amongst the party’s bench strength is Motilal Vora, a veteran of many political and trade union battles. Gulam Nabi Azad is another, who has come up the party ladder beginning his innings as a part of Sanjay Gandhi’s stormtroopers. The pathetic show shows that the Congress managers cannot do one-up on their RaGa, who has missed his own Belchi moment.

This is in sharp contrast to the way Arvind Kejriwal has managed to bounce back after being written off as a spent force. He did not run away from the defamation case slapped by Nitin Gadkari; instead he made the BJP heavyweight to face his expose. He has warded off existential threats posed by fellow AAPs like Prof Yogendra Yadav, while opening back channels with the Congress for its crutches deftly exploiting its fear of the X-factor. And seizing the power crisis in Delhi as his Belchi moment, he made the Modi sarkar grope in darkness, and has held out a lesson in street smart politics to RaGa.

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