So what’s new?

For all that the BJP is now attacking Rahul Gandhi for `emotional attyachar’ over the invocation of his grandmother and father’s assassinations at election campaigns, they must then ask their own Gandhi scion, Varun Gandhi, son of Sanjay Gandhi, why he does the same whenever he campaigns in the remote areas of the country.

I had the good fortune to travel with a young Varun even before he had been eligible to contest polls and his speeches were full of “Meri dadi kehti thi …”, “Maine apni dadi se seekha…”, “Meri dadi ke vichaar aise thay”, etc.

I knew that was all patently untrue because, under the glare of the cameras that he was under right from his birth, I am sure Varun never got the opportunity to have long discourses with his grandmother as his mother Maneka Gandhi was estranged with her mother-in-law and never allowed Varun any time with Mrs Gandhi.

But even if she did, he was too young to have remembered what Mrs Gandhi might have said for she died long before he was out of his diapers. But I guess Mrs Indira Gandhi is a force multiplier in this country and, well, every grandson has the right to showcase his grandmother.

I know why Maneka Gandhi joined the BJP – because she ran out of money and other party options and Varun himself told me he could not go to any party where his mother was not welcome and that certainly meant the Congress which might still have admitted him to the party for he is certainly more aggressive than his cousin and could have earned the Congress some brownie points.

But I am now glad to see Rahul developing some spirit of his own though I am happy he is still a gentleman and within the bounds of decency. A leading political analyst recently told me according to some surveys he has participated in, people in this country are increasingly preferring the soft, the politer and the gentlemanly discourse; they want to hear the truth not abuses and they are well capable of sifting the grain from the chaff.

No wonder social media is full of references to Narendra Modi as ‘Voldemort’ and I have received many calls and messages from friends who were sitting on the fence that they have finally decided that Modi cannot be their Prime Minister. “He has no plan for the country and nothing new to say anymore except abuse and piling on more abuse on the Nehru-Gandhis. Even LK Advani, however, communal has a more educated profile and we simply do not want naked ambition in power,” one analyst startled me by saying.

Yet I can see this is among the most unpredictable elections of my career and I can barely wait for the results to the polls to the five states now in electioneering mode, coming in December, to assure myself if my friends are right about the nation preferring the gentlemanly discourse to the bellicose rapacious one.

I have covered enough elections to know by now that a Panchayat Poll or assembly result cannot have a larger bearing on the Lok Sabha but both the main political parties, the Congress and the BJP, seem to be looking at these states as the semi- finals preceding the parliament elections

But I am now beginning to wonder if Modi’s lack of agenda and his reactions to Rahul Gandhi are not the least because he has no help from other leaders in the BJP who are far more intelligent than many in the Congress and should actually be providing Modi with an agenda that looks better than just the reactionary one – to everything right or wrong that the Congress or Rahul might end up doing or saying.

I personally would like to see something new from each leader at every campaign meeting, but if limited discourse is all that we are destined for, well, then, the people must decide if these words at least add up to the truth. We will be the sorrier if they don’t.

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