GANDHI SCION BEYOND REDEMPTION
If you are able to look at the bright side of the parliamentary stalemate, you ought to be thankful that if nothing else, at least, it has established that Rahul Gandhi Mark II is no better than his previous pre-holiday avatar. The fellow is beyond redemption. Quite aside from the non-negotiable demand for resignations of the BJP ministers before he would allow Parliament to function, what conclusively confirmed that he is condemned to remain the exact opposite of Einstein all his life was the accidental discovery of notes for him to read his speech from, in the Lok Sabha.
The "cheat sheet", which has caused quite a storm on social media, reveals that not unlike his mother he too parrots his lines in Hindi written in bold Roman script. Yet, he fumbles, jumbles sentences, even when he has the script in hand.
Of course, the Gandhi scion's squalid performance, and his refusal to keep the door ajar for a compromise, would demolish the argument that the government ought to have reached out to the opposition. When the leader of the 44-member group is hell-bent on an all-or-nothing, no purpose could be served by negotiations. Gandhi, at no time, was ready for a compromise. He was dead-set on a full-blown confrontation. If in the process, his party got isolated, he wasn't bothered. The "born leader" had no one to be accountable to.
Due to the injection of bitter invective, politics plumbed a new low in the last couple of weeks. Rival MPs very nearly came to blows in the Lok Sabha. During the debate on Lalitgate, Sonia Gandhi did the unthinkable for someone who heads the oldest party, by herself storming into the well of the House. One cannot visualise a Vajpayee or an Advani ever doing that unpardonable act.
A further coarsening of the political discourse was clear when Rahul claimed, "Sushmaji ney paise khaye hain". And BJP backbenchers returned the compliment. Never before had Indian Parliament witnessed such low-level exchanges.
Yet, a lot was at stake. Economic pundits insist the implementation of the GST would add one to two per cent in additional GDP. The government wants to introduce the landmark reform from the next financial year. But before that, the GST Bill has to receive the nod of the Rajya Sabha and, later, of the state legislatures. Unless that is done soon, it might not be possible to enforce it from 1 April 2016.
Though there is some talk of a two-three-day special session ahead of the customary winter session, which normally begins in late November, there is no guarantee that the Congress fuehrer would see reason. It seems to be of no concern that one per cent of additional GDP translates into at least Rs 1 lakh crore in additional growth.
For those who have lived a parasitic, seven-star life without doing a day's honest work, the GDP boost can be irrelevant. But for all others it should be of utmost importance. A higher growth rate actually results in pulling millions out of poverty than all those dole-distribution schemes can ever do. India growing at nine-ten per cent for the next 15 years is the best guarantee for poverty removal. Forget all about Garibi Hatao and other variations of Indira Gandhi's mass-hoodwink slogan.
Meanwhile, the question everyone is asking but only the owners of the family firm can answer is whether the same no-resignation, no-Parliament stance would continue whenever the House meets next. What would be the party stand in the winter session, which has to be necessarily called later in the year, can only be answered by the lord and master of the Congress. Nobody else has a clue.
However, should the BJP prove its point in the forthcoming Bihar Assembly poll, Rahul Gandhi can be relied upon to go again on a long holiday to some undisclosed foreign destination, thus leaving the Congress free to return to its old normal self.
TWEETING LIKE ROYALTY
That the Gandhis consider themselves royalty comes across in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. It is quite normal, for instance, for Sonia Gandhi not to grant audience to party leaders, including Chief Ministers, for months on end, despite urgent requests put through incessantly to her aides. Not deigning to give darshan easily to one's own doormats is a standard trick in the manual of kings and queens. In order to create an aura of mystique about your otherwise very ordinary self, you have to maintain distance from your sycophants.
Again, in the age of 24x7 social media, Rahul Gandhi is probably the only leader who does not tweet himself but has someone else to tweet in his name. All important leaders who seek to intervene in public affairs with their 140-word take on men and matters do it under their own names. But his royal highness, you must have noticed, does not. Instead, it is the "Office of Rahul Gandhi". Now, it can mean either of the two things. One, that he is being truthful. Since he is incapable of doing anything himself, he rightly credits his office for what is put out under his name. Or, two, and this might be his real intention, it is meant to reflect his royal streak. How can the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family tweet himself like all the lesser mortals, from Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley to a host of other politicians.
A THIEF BROKE INTO SUSHMA'S HOUSE
The other day a thief broke into the spacious Lutyens' bungalow of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. Apparently, while the Swarajs slept soundly after spending all their waking hours gravely mulling the matriarch's future in the wake of the uncompromising stand taken on her resignation by Rahul Gandhi, the thief escaped with some Rs 70,000-75,000 in cash, expensive watches, some pieces of jewellery, etc. As expected, the police was summoned and promised to do all in its power to catch the thief.
A couple of days later, as is the norm with the police to catch all such thieves who are foolish enough to target VIP houses, the thief who had broken into Swaraj's house was caught. Virtually the entire stolen stuff was recovered. Asked why he had broken into Swaraj's house, the thief confessed, "My wife is suffering from cancer... I do not have money for treatment; my children need to pay their school fees" and so on... The police were confused. They told Swaraj the reason why the thief claimed he had targeted her house.
According to the story, most likely apocryphal, Swaraj was on the horns of a dilemma. How could she negate the thief's version when she herself had extended help to supposedly a much bigger thief in distress? And done that stealthily without taking anyone into confidence. But accepting the thief's story would mean allowing him to keep the proceeds of the crime on purely "humanitarian grounds".
Of course, if we get to know the eventual fate of the thief, we would certainly keep you informed.