BHAMY V. SHENOY writes: For nearly a week now, newspapers in Karnataka have been devoting an obscene amount of space for the visit of an ordinary Congress MP from the North to the southern part of the State. Pictures of where he will land, where he will stay, the food he will eat, the meeting hall he will address, have all been published to great fanfare.
But for one single fact—of Rahul Gandhi belonging to the Jawaharlal Nehru family—is there any one standout reason why he deserves such a lot of attention? In a mature democracy where leaders are supposed to be elected on the basis of what they stand for and what they accomplish, what does such interest suggest?
That, as the general elections approach, the hereditary composition of the great grandson of Pandit Nehru, the grandson of Indira Gandhi, and the son of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi has begun to excite the very elastic chromosomes of Congressmen—and a starstruck media is showing exaggerated interest in it.
Aside from being reasonably young and good looking, and an eligible bachelor to boot, what has Rahul Gandhi done to deserve such five-star treatment?
He has been a member of the Lok Sabha since 2004. The one major speech he made in Parliament, he read from a prepared text, flouting parliamentary norms. In the Uttar Pradesh elections, he led his party to a resounding defeat. He has shown an extraordinary ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong place.
Has he written one article expounding his views on various problems the Indian political system is facing today and what he would like to do? Does anybody know what his vision for India is? Has he shown any ability to attract the educated young (besides children of older Congressmen) to take up the cause of nation building?
Has he taken one small step to root out corruption, nepotism, casteism, favouritism, communalism?
Yet, we fawn over him and fete him like he is God’s personal gift to India?
As a result of his visit to Karnataka, will there be any impact on grinding poverty? Can such a flying visit spending few minutes in so many places give him an insight into the problems poor of H.D. Kote and Chamarajanagar face? Why then is such a tamasha getting such wide press coverage?
The reasons are obvious. Should there be a victory for Congress in the forthcoming general election, Rahul will be the nominee of Sonia Gandhi next time and not Manmohan Singh. Sonia’s “inner voice” will be loud and clear this time. There will be no sacrifice on her part.
Is this the democracy our founders fought for?
Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Next change, Rahul Gandhi?
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News