Holier than thou?

|
  • 0

Holier than thou?

Thursday, 18 March 2021 | Pioneer

Holier than thou?

Rahul’s proclamation that the Congress nurtures differences and dialogue raises a few questions

In his first acknowledgement of the group of 23 dissenters (G23) and in an oblique attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, Congress’ former president Rahul Gandhi has claimed that the leaders belonging to the ruling party at the Centre are scared of freely airing their opinion. In his own party, however, free speech and differences of opinion nurture and flourish, he hinted. The comments, ostensibly to underline the Congress’ inclusive nature that allows “conversations and negotiations” and to show that it cares for intra-party democracy, come just weeks ahead of the Assembly elections in four States and a Union Territory and were made during an interaction with the faculty and students of the US-based Brown University. Rahul asserted that a group like the G23 cannot exist in any other political party and immediately pointed the finger at the major political rivals. He went on to extol the democratic virtues of his own party but, of course, a slight oversight made him conveniently overlook as to how his grandmother and mother had handled dissent — or whatever smelled like it — within and outside the Congress.

Piloo Mody famously called Indira Gandhi’s MPs “bonded labour”, alluding to the servitude to which she had reduced her party men, for which the then Prime Minister never forgave him. He also mocked her with an “I am a CIA agent” placard in the Parliament complex, reacting to her tendency to label her political opponents as agents of US imperialism. People familiar with the internal functioning of the ‘Grand Old Party’ are quite aware how fond Sonia Gandhi was of dissent; she even sent her own party’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on ‘maun vrat’ for at least 10 years. Then there’s Rahul himself, who publicly tore up the then PM’s ordinance on allowing convicted lawmakers to contest elections. Besides, his hint that he might return as the party president following the “election” and virtually staking claim to the top post, saying that nobody in his family has been the Prime Minister since 1989, again reeks of a sense of entitlement. But Rahul may have a point when he talks about the change in the political discourse since 2014, the eroding credibility of democratic institutions in the public eye and the BJP’s control over the political narrative. Of course, all’s not hunky-dory with the BJP and it also needs to answer some tough questions.

State Editions

700-gram baby gets new life in city hosp

28 September 2022 | PNS | Bhubaneswar

Sahoo’s smart watch, CCTV disk sent for test

28 September 2022 | PNS | Bhubaneswar

More thundershowers to lash State

28 September 2022 | PNS | Bhubaneswar

CM in B’luru; Investors’ Meet today

28 September 2022 | PNS | Bhubaneswar

Shreemandir land records to be digitised

28 September 2022 | PNS | Bhubaneswar

BBSR-Tirupati train from Oct 1

28 September 2022 | PNS | Bhubaneswar

Sunday Edition

Time to tame the rabble rousers

25 September 2022 | Navin Upadhyay | Agenda

Decode ‘those’ genes

25 September 2022 | HEALTH PIONEER | Agenda

COVID-19 Pandemic: The Battles India Won

25 September 2022 | Prof (Dr) Balram Bhargava | Agenda

NEWS BRIEF

25 September 2022 | HEALTH PIONEER | Agenda

Tobacco ads: Celebrities shirk moral responsibility

25 September 2022 | Nibedita Priyadarshini Jena | Agenda

Address fault lines, Raja yoga will bear fruit

25 September 2022 | Bharat Bhushan Padmadeo | Agenda