This piece was written for Niti Central. Reposting it here:
In the summer of 2007, Rahul Gandhi uttered these sagely words: "I belong to the family which has never moved backwards, which has never gone back on its words. You know that when any member of my family had decided to do anything, he does it. Be it the freedom struggle, the division of Pakistan or taking India to the 21st century"
In the spring of 2011, Rahul Gandhi enlightened us by saying: "Corruption is taking place because doors of the political system are closed and the average person who wants to do good is not allowed in"
In the winter of 2013, Rahul Gandhi further asserted, by saying this (amongst many other gems): "All our public systems....are designed to keep people with knowledge out. They are closed systems. They are designed to promote mediocrity."
Ever since that summer of 2007, Rahul Gandhi has been dishing out such rhetoric on a very regular basis. Rahul Gandhi's latest Jaipur speech would have been just another repetitive rant against the "system", but for the fact that he was appointed as the Vice President of the ruling party of this country. And hence it becomes imperative for us to understand what exactly he wanted to convey. There was a lot of anger in the speech. A lot of "we" don't do this, "we" don't do that etc - but ranting is what we mere mortals would do. "Leaders" like Rahul Gandhi and "his family" have been given the opportunity to show us the solutions for these rants - which they have spectacularly failed to do.
In his Jaipur speech, he also says "Power is grossly centralized in this country. We don't believe in empowering all the way to bottom." Who exactly is "we" here? His family? His party? Or the wretched "aam aadmi"?
There was a lot of anger that poured out in his speech. At the fag end of his angry rant, he says thus:
"The time has come to question the centralized, unresponsive and unaccountable systems of decision making in governance, administration and politics....The answer is to completely transform the system".
Perhaps this is the time to take a quick look at who led this wretched "system". Rahul Gandhi's great grandfather headed this "system" for 17 years. His grandmother headed it for 16 years. His father headed it for 5 years. His mother has been heading it for 9 years (and still continues to head it). That makes it a grand, 17+16+5+9 = 47 years. The ever magnanimous Rahul Gandhi always fails to mention 2 other Prime Ministers (who are not from his "family") from the Congress, who have ruled us for 7 years. So, that makes it 54 years out of the 65 years we've had independence!
So essentially the bulk of his speech is a damning indictment of the very same political system nurtured for 47 whopping years by his own family! Strong words were used left and right - no accountability, no respect for rules, all mediocre leaders - yet this speech is being hailed for it's "emotional" value. In the entire speech, there is not a single solution he proposes for all the ills his family has thrust upon us. He makes the cursory reference to Aadhar cards, MNREGA, RTE, DCT etc, but that's about it. He even rues that the very same Congress party headed by his family gives little regard to rules, and yet somehow manages to win elections because "India is in it's DNA".
9 years is long enough time to bring in massive changes - we have leaders who have shown us what can be done in 5 years only! Yet, Rahul Gandhi does not have a single achievement to boast of (as an MP, as general secretary of his party). He seeks more time to bring in changes, telling us that he learnt that we have to correct things however long it takes! Irony died a million deaths when Rahul Gandhi rued that mediocre people become powerful in this country.
It might not be a big deal for many, but when a "leader" reads out even personal anecdotes and experience from a written speech, it speaks volumes about his articulation abilities. Flawless articulation comes when there is clarity of thought - something that's missing in Rahul Gandhi, as is evident from his rant at Jaipur. Remember he said " You know that when any member of my family had decided to do anything, he does it." Are we to infer that his family decided to to bring in all those ills he is frustrated about?
The speech is merely a compilation of all his incoherent rants all these years, and has failed to convey anything to the people of this country. The compliant media doesn't seem to question him on any of these aspects - they are just happy to tag along with his "emotional" speech. A cursory reading of various newspapers and viewing of various news channels only create the impression that he is the "eternal opposition leader" waiting and wanting to usher in the much needed change and relief to our "system". Or maybe that's the gameplan - to isolate Rahul Gandhi from the ills of UPA 1 and UPA 2 and set the stage for UPA 3 based on anti-incumbency of UPA 1 and 2! If that succeeds, we have no one else to blame, except us.