Not Rahul Gandhi’s Masterstroke

Looking at Priyanka Gandhi’s political credentials—except being from the Gandhi family and having earlier campaigned for her brother in Amethi, she has none whatsoever—one fails to understand on what ground her appointment as Congress’ general secretary in-charge of east Uttar Pradesh is being seen as Rahul Gandhi’s masterstroke.

Unless the Indian voters have become so naïve and unless the sectarian hatred spread by the Hindutva gang has evaporated to the extent that they would forget everything and flock to vote for a party for the single reason that it has a campaigner with a pretty face, calling her elevation a masterstroke is premature and unconvincing.

Agreed that there exists frustration among the voters. From casteism to unfulfilled promises the reasons of this frustration are varied. Let’s not forget the fact that the sectarian cancer infected by BJP on the body politic of India is there with almost same severity. Instead of going away, it has only taken a turn to casteism. Those who may have lost any charm in Hindutva slogans, will now vote for BJP on caste lines. At least in UP, BJP’s non-Rajput voters will go with Akhilesh or Ajit Singh and of course with Mayawati. The states in which Congress has performed well did not have these caste-based parties.

Far from being Rahul Gandhi’s so-called masterstroke, if Priyanka Gandhi— who once insisted that she was not Priyanka Gandhi but Priyanka Vadra, and now once again for political manaevoring reclaiming her surname, Gandhi, really succeeds. This may in fact create problems for Rahul as well as the Congress in future. Politics and the taste of fame and power can turn even the saintliest people into vicious enemies. Examples of rivalries in dynasties, be they dynastic monarchies or dynastic democracies, even between parents and siblings, are numerous in human history.

It was only in 2012 that the Indians witnessed Akhilesh Yadav capturing party leadership and showing his father, Mulayam Singh, the door. Before that, tussle had been going on between him and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.

In the recent past tensions between Benazir Bhutto and her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, and then also between Benazir Bhutto and her brothers, resulted into the murder of Murtaza Bhutto, allegedly organised by Zardari, are no secret.

In Britain as well in 2010 Labour Party politician Ed Miliband maneuvered the situation, stood for party leadership, defeated his brother David Miliband and won the election. This strained sibling relations and he was accused of having ‘knifed his brother in the back.’

Priyanka Gandhi is being described as carrying a striking resemblance of her grandmother. In an interview she took great pride in having ‘the same blood’ in her as Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Well then, she must also be carrying her grandmother’s ambitions and ruthless manners of sidelining her seniors and climbing high. In politics, hardly anyone remains safe from being ambitious. This reminds me of Kuldip Nayar having noted in one of his books that during the campaign to choose Nehru’s successor when Mr Nayar said to Lal Bahadur Shastari that he would probably leave the road clear for Mrs. Indira Gandhi, he retorted confessing to Mr Nayar that he was not a saint, as he was making him to be. 

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