Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Standing Tall...

Although i might be late to vociferate ma perspective on the outcome of the "BIG BATTLE"(biggest in terms of expenditures incurred)but i am not altogether amenable to this lag, my NGO is completely responsible for it(without any discretion of views:P)Still ,hoping the fever has not completely died down(as even the cabinet is not yet set up ), this is my and solely my view on the Elections-2009.
Priyanka Gandhi said it first.Her brother's gr8 skill was his willingness to "sacrifice the now for the future". Not just was he never given enough credit for this, he was often "berated" by a fickle media. Looking back ,her words now seem eerily prescient. When Rahul Gandhi 1st pushed for traveling solo in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh and when he refused to accept the piddly little offer of mere 3 seats form Mr. Lalu Yadav, there were enough sniggers some from within the Congress itself. I remember, Mr Lalu quipping on a TV show"Is Rahulji planning an election for 2014 or 2009?" But that's irony - Rahul Gandhi probably was planning a long-term overhaul for 2014 or even further ahead, and made no apologies for it. In other words lets think of what would have happened if the Congress' seats had not soared up in UP.The media that is gushing today would have swung to the other extreme and editorialized on supposed political "naivete". Every sentence uttered during electioneering would have been stomping all over the story.
It's now conventional wisdom to pitch him as the big winner of this election. But I think,the real reason that he is a victor is not so much the fact that Rahul Gandhi's courageous risk won the Congress ,the Hindi Heartland its the fact that had his party lost he would have still believed in the need 2 pursue a lonelier, but braver political path. There are very politicians who can stand up to the public scrutiny of a decision that doesn't yield immediate results.It's my guess that the 39 year old Gandhi is probably one of those few.And that's what makes him a winner. Its the willingness to divorce politics from the popularity stakes that makes Rahul Gandhi so unusual.Of course there's a difference between following your heart and mind and being entirely indifferent to public opinion, It is sometimes a thin line that separates courage from hubris. And many politicians have lost their balance in this tough trapeze walk. That's why I think, despite all the clamoring for Rahul Gandhi to be part of the new council of ministers, his instinct to stay out is probably much wiser. Not just because the party organization needs strengthening and rejuvenation, but also because its the more grounded way to climb to the top.Its a path designed to sidestep the hurdles that ingratiating sycophancy within the party can crop up. And that will be what Rahul gandhi will be most closely watched for in the months and years to come.Will he manage to live up to his word of delivering democracy within his own party?
Finally, while so many deconstruct Rahul Gandhi in terms of his father and his grandmother(his own sister said he combined the best of both politically),I think he may have another unexpected example to emulate - his mother, Sonia Gandhi, the shy,reluctant politician, permanently silenced her critics since the day she declared she had no interest in being Prime Minister.Five years later, she holds not just the party;but also the alliance together.Every time there is a crisis-a recalcitrant partner, a dissenting old leader; a sulky party colleague - it is she who is called in to apply the balm. Those who dismissed her as a novice from abroad had to swallow their words and accept that old fashioned stuff like hand power and sheer goodwill still have a huge space in Indian Politics. Its the same goodwill and simple integrity that most people associate with the Prime Minister. And its that mix of decency and humility that we will look for in the man destined to lead the Congress into its new future.

Signing off..Nirvaan