Rahul Diatribes!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Jul 2017 10:48:38

ISSUES & NON-ISSUES

By Vijay phanshikar

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi dubbed Narendra Modi as a “weak PM” for not raising the issue of H-1B Visa in his talks with US President Donald Trump and for playing down the use of the term “Indian-administered Kashmir”, by the US.  The Congress on its Twitter Handle criticised Modi’s US visit saying, it was merely a photo-opportunity and the main issues were by-passed.  Gandhi tweeted some links of media reports that said “H-1B didn’t figure in Modi-Trump talk” and “MEA accepts US use of ‘administered Kashmir’”. “India has a weak PM”, he tweeted. 


IT IS not without reason that the Congress party is on a continual decline under the leadership of Mr. Rahul Gandhi, officially its Vice-President and unofficially its true boss. For the past three years after the Congress party and its allies in the united Progressive Alliance (UPA) were voted out of power, all Mr. Rahul Gandhi is doing is to speak senseless things about Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Whatever Mr. Modi has done has come for criticism from the Congress party and its now-not-so-young leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi. And each of those statements against the Prime Minister has invited only derision from the public, resulting in loss of face for the party as well as for the leader. In contrast, each of the statements by Mr. Rahul Gandhi has only added much flavour to the Prime Minister’s personal popularity. For, the common people has often taken the criticism as politically motivated and almost nonsensical.

By no standard can anyone call Mr. Narendra Modi a “weak Prime Minister”. By no standard can anybody think of Mr. Modi as a Prime Minister who would not pick up courage to speak in national interest. By no standard can world leaders call Mr. Modi as a pliant man. For, in sharp contrast, everybody, in India or abroad, has found Mr. Modi as a tough statesman who would never compromise with Indian interest. In fact, he has been credited with raising many hitherto dormant issues much to the shock of world leaders with whom he is known to have first-name terms.

This is not a small achievement for world leader. For, within a short span upon assuming office, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi started talking to all world leaders as if he has had a long association with them. His method and manner, his tone and tenor, his persona and presentation -- everything has created a special appeal for him. In a short span of less than three years, Mr. Narendra Modi has emerged as a unique Indian leader who was selling tea just a few years earlier. Every other world leader has accepted Mr. Modi as an integral part of the community of statesmen shaping the global agenda effectively.

That Mr. Modi did not raise certain issues in his meeting with United States President Mr. Donald Trump, could be a matter of perception. For, with larger goal in mind, on many occasions, every Prime Minister of India has chosen to keep quiet on some issues at hand from time to time. Such adjustments, such prioritisation has always been an integral part of diplomatic considerations.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rahul Gandhi does not know contemporary Indian history in which his own great grandfather Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, grandmother Indira Gandhi, and father Mr. Rajiv Gandhi had had to indulge in serious decisions of not raising certain issues during their diplomatic engagements with world leaders. On countless occasions, history has recorded how Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru chose to avoid certain issues during his meetings with the then Chinese leadership. Even Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother -- Indira Gandhi -- could not assert and take firm control of the Pakistani territory which the Indian forces had captured in the wars against the neighbouring country, so much so that some top ranking military leaders of contemporary India had described the Shimla Agreement between Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as a document which was heavily loaded in favour of Pakistan and something that exposed Mrs. Gandhi’s weakness. On a couple of occasions, even Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, too, found himself trapped to accept serious adjustments in critical negotiations.

Of course, in Mr. Narendra Modi’s case, nothing of that sort has happened. The details of the talks between Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump have never bee revealed by anybody, and whatever was available was only a carefully doctored version with a nod from both the countries. So, no matter what Mr. Rahul Gandhi might have tweeted, there is no clear evidence that Mr. Modi did not raise H-1B Visa issue with the American President, or not registered his strong protest over the use of term “Pakistan-administered” Kashmir. For, as the whole nation -- except of course Mr. Rahul Gandhi -- knows Mr. Modi as a man of steel, somebody who would never compromise national interest in any condition and situation.

It is most unfortunate that Mr. Rahul Gandhi does not know the fineprint that usually underlines diplomacy. Even though he has had a unique good luck to be born in an illustrious family, the not-so-young leader has never allowed himself to learning of fine detail that generally governs top-level communication.

It was because of such a superficial approach -- particularly of Mr. Rahul Gandhi -- that Kashmiri leader Mr. Omar Abdullah had advised the Opposition parties first to stop criticising Mr. Modi and start focusing on actual issues if it wanted to win elections. ‘Forget 2019, for time is too short, and focus on issues and not persons for 2024 elections when ‘you might have an outside chance’’, he had said in full sarcasm.

Of course, it is too much to expect Mr. Rahul Gandhi to learn right lessons from factual situations. For, if he were to learn the right lessons, he would have done so long ago.
For the Congress party, there seems no alternative to Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Its top-level leaders may be realising the serious limitations on the leadership of Mr. Rahul Gandhi, but then it does not have an alternative at hand to seek change. Looking at this condition, Mr. Narendra Modi and his associates must be indulging in a tongue-in-cheek smile. For each time Mr. Rahul Gandhi says something, the Prime Minister’s popularity-quotient goes up.