Since some time, especially mid April 2015, congress suddenly is in overdrive. Rahul Gandhi has returned from his so called vacation cum introspection and has occasionally started giving some well prepared speeches in parliament. A new twitter handle OfficeOfRG has been created. INC has revamped its website. There is a team out there that is trying to create hashtags early in the morning to push that throughout the day. Rahul Gandhi is going everywhere and suddenly has become farmer’s messiah. All of this is in the backdrop of increasing prosecution of congress associated businessmen for various frauds with system and Sonia’s tendency to stay in background. List is endless but prominent one are Jindal, DLF, Lanco, Maran, Sun, Vadra etc. Now, this got me wondering as to what is driving this sudden activity from congress camp and while having no conclusion, few things strike out about Rahul Gandhi and Congress.
Rahul Gandhi is very inexperienced in dealing with People due to security driven sheltered living while in India. This may explain his relative anonymity when out of India since anyone can get fed up of Z level and would like some free time. Due to these, he is not having a personal twitter handle nor does he issues any statement without thorough vetting from some background team.
Media did notice his outbursts for some time, but perhaps under government pressure or out of boredom of prepared speeches is slowly ignoring him except for some occasional mentions here and there. His case is not much helped because of the fact that he isn’t saying anything new either and does not have any personal friendship with anyone outside his personal circle or congress circle.
There are some state elections coming up, notably in Bihar, Bengal and Assam. None of these will especially get affected by Twitter promoted rants nor that INC seems to be caring. Rahul Gandhi is not visiting these places either given that INC has negligible presence there except in Assam. Darbhanga incident with students where He had to leave dais or daily violence in Bengal must not be very reassuring either. With no good INC leadership in these places, his prepared speeches will not make much differences if he is shielded from possible disturbance by security ring. This current aggression may not be helpful for the cause of INC in these places thus. Also, if he becomes too active in these places and INC draws zilch, it will become his failure again.
Combining all these, it seems that this is a rather futile exercise given general elections are far far away and this increase in activity will not be very useful after 4 years. This conclusion should not be unclear to any experienced political campaigner. What is then fueling this high level of activity? Some of my guesses are as follows.
INC has finally decided to give the rein to Rahul Gandhi but wants him to be more visible before doing so. This may also be testing time to see if making him president will yield any results or not. INC cannot return back to its commanding position without Gandhi/Nehru family, but since last 3 years, every election under them have been disaster. BJP has effectively replaced them as central party. If he cannot enthuse people now, background team may finally decide to shelve the family and project someone else at the top for upcoming general election. 4 years is a long time and they do not want to see the repeat of 2014 under an inexperienced leader. Its better to start preparing from now under able leader who can ensure better tally than 44 and get at least LoP post. INC still has some sway in Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujrat, NE, Haryana and Maharashtra and they may decide to project a leader from those states or perhaps incorporate AAP with them or even woo Pawars. Last though seems tough given he is now too old and next generation is not so effective as him.
One factor may be outside influence to keep Modi at tender hook to ensure that his government is not allowed to function effectively. LS and RS are a gone case due to low numbers, but public outbursts may help. Who would like to do that is anyone’s guess as the game is still not clear. Rahul Gandhi may have been taken out of India to be coached to deal with BJP strategies. Given not much security out of India, he can easily take training and there won’t be any leakage to government through security ring. Trainers may have been mix of Indian and Foreign experts. Earlier estimates were form 20-30 days training, but it kept on lingering perhaps due to over estimation of his capabilities. Any intensive training in India may have got leaked to media and thus the sabbatical to unknown location.
One very plausible factor may be an attempt to shield INC linked businessmen from prosecution or at least create an impression that some vendetta politics is at play. Unlike the mistake of Janta Government in 1977, current dispensation is not touching pure politicians but the financiers. Also, they have learned from NDA 1 that this factor cannot be ignored. Despite good work, NDA lost in 2004 due to unhindered flow of black money during general elections. Foreign money is a tricky thing given the complicity and involvement of foreign spy agencies, but Indian sources can be muzzled to ensure that it is not easy to channel money through them from foreign. Funds parked in foreign may be untouchable, but they may become unusable if there is no big receiver or no mechanism to move the money to India. if prosecution and noise go hand in hand, it may be easy for some paid media journalists to write speculative pieces that vendetta politics is at play.
One things is very clear that this recent activism has nothing to do with perceived failures of government, farmer suicide, jawans or general public and completely self survival exercise. How it plays out in future will answer the big question about the real motive. Fingers are crossed.