Thursday, January 24, 2019

Priyanka Gandhi’s Entry - Formal Acknowledgement of Rahul’s Failure

When Defence Minister of India Nirmala Seetharaman spiritedly defended the government in Lok Sabha last week, Congress president Rahul Gandhi was at the forefront to deride her arguments. Seetharaman came clear with all facts regarding the Rafale deal and exposed all the canards spread by opposition, especially Congress. Rather than counter her arguments with equally forceful facts, the Congress President chose a very misogynist remark while targeting the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. “He is hiding behind a woman,” was the statement he made.
The irony came to haunt Gandhi and the Congress Party as Rahul's sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally entered politics on Wednesday. Immediately after her entry, Priyanka was appointed general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East. The liberal intelligentsia (!) hailed the move saying that it was the Brahmastra for the Congress Party. They saw in it the party's intent to go full throttle in the state ahead of the general elections.
Little did they realize that it was a formal acknowledgement of Rahul Gandhi’s failure as a leader. It showed that Congress relied heavily on sympathy and emotional issues rather than hard facts of development. Congress workers do not tire of singing paeans to Priyanka charishma and try to make others feel that she exudes Indira Gandhi’s persona. Clearly, the party wants to project her as a woman leader in a bid to attract voters and want others to see in her what a true-blood Congressman would see. It will surely boost the morale of party workers in the state but to expect any far reaching effect of this move will be an exaggeration.
Rahul Gandhi fastThe question here is - If it takes Priyanka Gandhi to arrive to enthuse Congress workers, what is Rahul Gandhi there for? What is he doing there as party president?
With Priyanka’s entry, years of speculation have come to an end. The euphoria is reminiscent of Sonia Gandhi entering in politics at the fag end of 1997. But it must be noted here that even Sonia Gandhi was not successful in her first attempt. She had to spend seven years in opposition before leading her party to power with the help of a cobbled up alliance.
It was also in line with the tradition of Congress Party that Priyanka was given new assignment in the politically crucial state without doing actual party work on ground, for howsoever little period of time. Her only credential in politics till now was managing the campaign of her brother - more as a family duty rather than commitment towards ideology. Even though Priyanka was earlier actively involved in making key decisiona in the party along with her mother and brother, it was mostly behind-the-curtain affair. Her most recent visible role was in the selection of new chief ministers for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Even then, she neither faced media nor interacted with party workers. It was just a darbari affair.
Most importantly, Priyanka is ridden with a load in the form of her husband Robert Vadra, who is embroiled in several controversies and scams including land purchase scams in Haryana and Rajasthan and is facing probes by the Enforcement Directorate. To get past those blots will not be as easy as Congressmen wish.
One cannot but laugh head goes to see a masterstroke in this move. The same section was Jubilant in 2009 when Congress managed an appreciable performance in UP election. The Congress had then won 21 seats in the state in the 2009 general election. They attributed this tally to the ‘able leadership’ of Rahul Gandhi and saw in him new savior of party. And now they see next messiah in Priyanka as Rahul could not deliver after many attempts since then.
UP was a Congress bastion till the mid 1980s. Ever since then, it has lost ground in the state to BJP, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Most of this destruction took place under the nose of Rahul Gandhi but he sailed through thanks to dynastic mindset of Congress. To revive the party from such a sunken state is a herculean task, but never mind, none will held her responsible even if she fails to achieve her goal. After all she has a blessed lineage!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

EVM Hacking Drama – A Cheap Gimmick by Congress

The grand old party of India (which incidentally is only 49 years old and not 113-years, as if popularly believed) is kicking and shouting like a spoiled child after being out of power. Its latest salvo in the form of EVM hacking has backfired terribly, upsetting even its staunch supporters in media. More than bringing ridicule to the party through such cheap gimmicks, it has brought disrepute to the democratic institutions in the country.
The Election Commission was justified in asking Delhi Police to lodge FIR against the purported hacker identified as Syed Shuja.
The cyber expert, during an event in London, claimed that he was part of the EVM design team and he can hack the EVMs used in the elections in India. He also made some sensational claims alleging that Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and even Bahujan Samaj Party achieved success in elections through EVM tampering. The so called cyber expert, who had little antecedents to prove his credentials, had claimed that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged. And most explosive claim was that BJP leader and Union Minister Gopinath Munde was "killed" because he was aware of EVM hacking in 2014 general elections.
The self-proclaimed cyber expert's claims had all the elements of creating a magnificent scandal in the country even as Lok Sabha elections are barely a couple of months away.
Luckily enough, the game was spoiled because of presence of former Union Minister Kapil Sibal. That gave away all clues of this being a Congress-sponsored drama. Sibal is a respected name in legal circles, but he does not enjoy a good reputation in politics. He was the one asking the Supreme Court to postpone hearing of Ram Mandir case till after 2019 polls.
Thus, he is seen as someone who leaves no stone unturned to achieve his goals. Defeating BJP, and especially Narendra Modi, is a dream for Rahul Gandhi-led Congress and Sibal, like every other darbari politics in his party, is hell-bent on realizing this dream. However, his physical presence made the matters extremely difficult for his ilk and his party. Congress was too swift in denouncing him and distanced itself from his involvement in the matter.
What was Sibal doing there and in what capacity was he present - these are the questions that will be asked repeatedly. The secular campers will have a hard time replying to these questions satisfactorily.
This is why he went back foot immediately and explained that he was present in his personal capacity. However, no leader with a stature such as Sibal will dare to attend such a highly repercussive event without the party's approval. Moreover, the said hacked targeting all parties except Congress was another red flag in believing Sibal's words.

As pointed by Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Indian Journalists' Association, which organized the conference in London, is headed by Ashis Ray who is a "committed Congressman" and has been singing paeans in support of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He is a regular contributor to Congress mouthpiece National Herald, campaigns for the Congress on social media and has often attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not only this, he had also organized Gandhi's public event in London.
In such a scenario, a well-thought and potential weapon from Congress's stead has gone in vain. The exercise was reduced to being a circus, a farce and a political stunt. This was supposed to be a press conference, yet Shuja did not offer any proof nor did he faced questions by the media. It was a really bad PR exercise.
It must be noted that EC had organized EVM hacking challenge about two years ago but no party or organization could prove anything. Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party was the only party that had shown interest in taking part in that challenge, but it failed miserably. Aam Admi Party and BSP were the parties at the forefront in levelling allegations of EVM tampering.
Therefore, the EC considers the EVM tampering as a closed chapter and rightly so. Congress has made a laughing stock by putting up theatrics in the name of democracy. It would be worthwhile it they spend their energies in building organization rather in indulging in cheap acts. If they do not stop and listen to conscience, they would probable require such flimsy excuses after defeat in ensuing elections.