Rahul’s theatrics: Poor judgment, horrible presentation
Rahul Gandhi has tried to act too clever by half. By demonstrating his apparent anger and annoyance over the Ordinance, meant to forestall the impending disqualification of Lalu Yadav, he has tried to win over the urban upper caste upwardly mobile class of people to whom Lalu Yadav has been an anathema for long and who are dying for last two decades to somehow disenfranchise the leader of social justice who changed the idiom in his home state Bihar.
This class/caste of people, be they journalists, bureaucrats or judges, leave alone the Sanghi politicians cannot hide their hostility against Lalu. Lalu had petitioned right upto the Supreme Court against the Bhoomihar judge presiding over his case in the Ranchi court, suspecting the inherent bias of the presiding officer. Ordinarily in the interest of fair play and justice any higher court should have granted him relief. Normally our judges have in the past shown signs of being overawed by the veteran Criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani. When Ram defends Amit Shah, every court readily grants him relief. But when the same Jethmalani pleads for Lalu Prasad, the court contemptuously dismisses the appeal, without bothering to comment on the grounds of Lalu’s apprehension and why? Of the two Patna High Court judges who singled out Lalu Yadav for their vituperation in late 1990s, both Brahmans, in the so-called fodder scam case, one is now the honourable member of the apex court and shortly due to become the Chief Justice of India.
This is the background of the Supreme Court judgment, which anticipating what Ranchi court is going to order against Lalu Yadav, days before that passed an order summarily disqualifying MPs and MLAs who were to be sentenced, never mind if the higher court overturns the lower court’s verdict. The argument on which such a judgment was delivered was patently flawed and contrary to the well established principles of jurisprudence that any person, even a murderer is not guilty till he has and is exercising the option of appeal right upto the highest court and then the apex court has upheld the lower court order. But in this case, the class and caste to which most of our honourable judges belong have been gnashing their teeth at their impotence in finishing off Lalu Yadav politically. As was evident in the Anna Hazare/ Arvind Kejriwal agitations, that is also one of the reasons for their annoyance with Sonia Gandhi, for ostensibly “protecting corrupt politicians like Lalu Yadav.”
Sections within the Congress, with proximity to this class of Indians, have also been equally hostile to Lalu for as long as he ruled Bihar, and even though they had to wily nily support him often times lest they be seen standing along with the BJP and earn sobriquet of soft Sanghis, they have not quite forgiven Lalu for leaving the Congress with no mass base in Bihar. Besides since Sonia Gandhi assumed Congress leadership, she has surely been soft on Lalu Yadav.
But the son is different. His understanding of politics appears to be worse than even his father’s. Father Rajiv Gandhi too, we may recall, opened the locks of Babri Masjid, did Shilanyas, got kicked in the head by Deoraha Baba and opened his 1989 election campaign with the unforgettable Ram Rajya speech. Each time he attempted to win away the Hindutva constituency, he further consolidated and provided the necessary impetus to the BJP’s Hindutva plank.
The son too, very obviously fearing the hostility of the chatterati against this Ordinance, brought in not just with the consent of mother Sonia but quite obviously at her instance, has chickened out and given in to this cacophony of the PLUs (people like us). As has rightly been pointed out, its not as if Rahul Gandhi got to suddenly know about this Friday afternoon. But the moment he saw a mood building against this among the PLUs and what with President Pranab Mukherjee too showing signs of being influenced by this outcry, Rahul decided to jump in, in the hope of enchasing upon the prevailing mood of the chatterati, coming out to viciously and embarrassingly attack the decision of his government and party not in an off the cuff remark but in a calculated move to project himself as this knight in shining armour, out to clean stables. But sadly for him this class has already gone over to the other side determined to vote for Modi/Kejriwal/Anna Hazare/Baba Ramdev and such others. They are not impressed in the least by this put on act of Rahul Gandhi.
He has succeeded in doing only one thing, apart from embarrassing the Prime Minister during his US visit and mother Sonia Gandhi, of ensuring that Lalu may not just cease to be a member of Parliament after September 30, but is disenfranchised and eliminated from the electoral race of 2014. Now that Nitish Kumar, after mating Narendra Modi and his party for 18 years has suddenly turned secular, naturally a naïve Rahul believes that he has the option of going with Nitish in Bihar and perhaps in Jharkhand as well. I doubt that will help his party the Congress or even Nitish Kumar, it will sabotage Lalu’s RJD’s prospects. On the other hand had there been an alliance between Lalu-Paswan and Congress in Bihar the combination would have swept Bihar and a JMM-Congress-RJD tie up would have seen a similar sweep in neighbouring Jharkhand as well. Now it will only help the BJP in Bihar and elsewhere. By his theatrics Rahul Gandhi has fallen between two stools. An Urdu couplet sums it all up: Na Khuda hi mila, na wisale sanam.