BJP-Congress coteries’ common intent?
Earlier this week, BJP’s chief spokesman, Ravi Shankar Prasad took everyone by surprise by declaring that Rahul Gandhi should be made the Prime Minister for the remaining period of the UPA so that people in this country can evaluate his performance. This was the second time, Prasad, otherwise a very astute politician made this remark. He had expressed similar sentiments on the Nidhi Razdan show on NDTV a couple of months ago and had received flak for it.
This time was no different. His BJP colleagues tried to defend his remarks by stating that they were made in sarcasm. But Prasad never says anything without thinking it through. Yes, the remarks were as inappropriate as if the Congress spokesman was to suggest that Prasad should replace Arun Jaitley as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha to enable him to demonstrate his political skills as a BJP leader. Normally speaking no party spokesman ever comments on the internal affairs of other parties and if Prasad has done it, there is certainly a game plan behind it.
From what is obvious is that Prasad and some others in his party and in the Congress are keen to involve Rahul Gandhi in some sort of a controversy. For the BJP, the main purpose is to buy some time since the leadership crisis in the Saffron party has not been resolved as yet and the ongoing assembly polls have shown how some leaders are either sulking or deliberately keeping away from crucial campaigns. The idea could be to deflect the attention from the internal affairs of the BJP which are to say the least very dismal as things stand today. The spotlight therefore will be better if it is on others rather than on the Saffron Brigade and the fierce infighting going on there.
In the Congress, some people who have enjoyed power by their proximity to Sonia Gandhi are not too keen that power transition should take place. If Rahul takes over fully, he will bring in people close to him and thereby displace the existing vested interest, which enjoys the fruits of power.
This group has been playing politics very carefully by diverting Rahul’s agenda and putting him on the mat for the wrong reasons. Rahul himself should be able to see through this game but if he has not, he does not realise that his own party persons rather than by outsiders are doing more harm to him. Rahul has emerged as the party’s new High command, something that became obvious when he and not his mother made the declaration about Captain Amarinder Singh being the party’s chief ministerial candidate by reversing tradition. His sister, Priyanka, whom many in the Congress see as their ultimate saviour also acknowledged him as her supreme leader when she told workers at Rae Bareilly that she was willing to campaign for the party if Rahul wanted her to. The signal was clear that he was her leader and also that of the party. The transition has already taken place even though Sonia Gandhi continues to be the party president. Congress is a party where a lot of things are said in signals and not directly. Why many are unable to read them are because many of the new power brokers in the party have come from other parties and are not familiar with the Congress culture.
There are several instances, which do point to complicity between some members of LK Advani’s coterie and those of Sonia Gandhi’s coterie. There is nothing wrong in this as in real politics a lot of things happen in the background. But what should be a matter of concern for Rahul’s supporters is that these two coteries may be working together to keep him out. Of course the two sides can have different objectives in doing so but this common intent serves those objectives.
Within the Congress for instance, Rahul has been trying to build the party in Uttar Pradesh and his desire is to see it self-reliant. But even before the election process started, some people within the party and outside started the speculation that ultimately the Congress and the Samajwadi Party will join hands in the post poll scenario. One fails to understand that when polls have not taken place where is the logic of discussing the post poll scenario. The idea is to show that Congress cannot make it on its own and in other words Rahul Gandhi’s efforts are going to be of no avail. My question is that why are people within the Congress wanting to pre judge the results. It is clear that the intention is not very noble so far as the young Congress leader is concerned.
The BJP, which has been squabbling, has to also understand that by its passive opposition at times, it is being seen by many as a party, which is aiding and abetting the current government and dispensation. Its role in Parliament has left a lot to be desired and the opposition mantle has been wrested from the principal opposition party by Team Anna. It is in BJP’s interest that it should resolve its own leadership crisis. If it fails to do so, its chances of coming to power at the Centre despite an inefficient government being in place will be very remote. As of now the UPA is a beneficiary of the BJP’s generosity. So far as Rahul’s becoming the PM is concerned, the people of India will decide this issue whenever the next Parliamentary elections take place. If the Congress wins, he will be in the seat and if it does not, he will have to wait.