Self-appraisal: what’s Beni’s score?

The day the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi mooted a self-appraisal system for the state party leaders, I wondered what would be the parameters on which they would be judged. I thought public conduct, including their gift of the gab, would certainly be one of the factors for ranking. But no, perhaps the rating would be on the ‘foulest of language that you can speak’ and the ‘penchant for raking up controversies.’

If union minister Beni Prasad Verma has to be appraised, what would be his score then? One doesn’t have to turn back the calendar more than a year. His ‘exemplary’ speeches during state elections are enough to rate him poor.

The other day while addressing a rally in Gonda, the minister launched a slander campaign in filthiest of language against his one-time buddy Mulayam Singh Yadav whom he accused of having links with terrorists. He is ‘lootera’ and a criminal. Few days later he repeated his charges on the floor of parliament with Mulayam paying him back in the same coin by asking him his ‘aukat’. The Congress quickly expressed regret for Beni’s statements not because of their love for Mulayam but because their minister had chosen a wrong time to take on the SP leader. The survival of UPA II in office now heavily rests on Mulayam after DMK support withdrawal.

However, everyone perhaps knows that Mulayam despite his anger would not withdraw support on such a trivial issue but wait for the right time and the right issue to topple the government. Nonetheless, the issue here is not the survival of the government but the language politicians speak and the Congress plan to hold annual appraisals.

The Congress and the BJP were known for maintaining some dignity of language but of late they are also crossing the fine line. I met a Congress MLA the other day at the airport and during discussion on some political issue, he retorted with, ‘Aap logo ke deemag kharab ho gaye hain, kya aapko kuch samajh nahin ata’. I was shocked to hear him speak like this as till the other day he visited office almost every day pleading to publish the party’s press note that he carried to office.

Perhaps, Rahul would do better by getting the leaders groomed first before allowing them to self-appraise. As if foul play was not enough that now one has to bear their foul language too!

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