Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 May 2018 10:15:15

 “I may become Prime Minister after 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”

- Congress President

Mr. Rahul Gandhiduring election campaign in Karnataka

OF COURSE, low aim is a crime. Going by that wisdom, Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi is certainly right in keeping his high aspirations alive. As he campaigned for his party in the Karnataka legislative elections, he was perfectly all right in stressing the high value he attaches to himself -- and his party. In election campaigns, such things are routinely said -- and then forgotten. For, as the common people have come to believe, election campaigns are all for fussing and fuming and fretting and fighting...! So, when somebody is in such a mode and mood, he is never to be taken seriously.

Yet, Mr. Rahul Gandhi is no ordinary person to be taken lightly. He needs a serious consideration from all of us, even though we may eventually reject him or his party. The past four years saw the Congress party losing the Lok Sabha elections and getting reduced to so small a number that it cannot be allocated the tag of main Opposition party in the House. Post that moment, it has lost all major elections and got thrown out of power in most States in the Indian Union. Yet, much to its cantankerous credit, the Congress party has maintained a very noisy presence in the political arena all along, making very tall claims that in the every next election, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are going to lose massively. However, the party and its brand new President want the people to forget their failed predictions and forecasts.

However, the assertion that he would become Prime Minister after 2019 elections, is something Mr. Rahul Gandhi would want people to remember all the while. For, that assertion was not just a part of the election campaign statements, but also intended to have a debilitating effect on the morale of the Prime Minister and his party and its cadres and its voters. Presently, it appears that Mr. Gandhi is in a mode and mood in which he has lost sight of hard and harsh realities of realpolitik. This psychological condition is generally described in common parlance as living in one’s own (read _ _ _ _’s) paradise. Of course, great people never mind getting criticised by people for their positioning, and without doubt Mr. Rahul Gandhi is one of such persons. That is also why he does not mind losing election after election and still keep claiming that his party will win every election round the next bend in thumping numbers.

From this point of view, his assertion that he would be the Prime Minister of India post 2019 only heightens the importance of Mr. Rahul Gandhi as the country’s major political player, no matter the fact that most people only had a hearty laugh after he made the statement. Social media went into a frenzy with savage jokes, asking Pappu, as Mr. Rahul Gandhi is jocularly described, to take a good look at himself in the mirror.

Of course, we deplore all such efforts to malign a young leader. If a chaiwala can become Prime Minister, then why not Mr. Rahul Gandhi?! As a member of a democratic polity, he also has every right to dream of high things and harbour high aspirations. In fact, every Indian child should dream of becoming President or Prime Minister. In tune with this spiritual expectation, Mr. Rahul Gandhi is perfectly right in hoping to become the Prime Minister. And let us also not forget his pedigree, if not his quality. His great grand father was Prime Minister. His grand mother was Prime Minister. His father was Prime Minister. His mother, too, came close to becoming Prime Minister! Then, why should we laugh at his dream of becoming Prime Minister some day!

But even as we grant Mr. Rahul Gandhi the freedom to harbour high aspirations, we must also remind him of the qualities a Prime Minister must possess, and the qualities he so woefully lacks. Of course, pedigree matters, but in democracy, that should not be the only criterion to bank upon. In Congress parlance, that is being treated as the one and the only quality he must possess. Of course, official position as a leader of a party matters, but again, the position should come out of the basic qualities of personality and not just from pedigree. In Congress party, however, what matters most critically is that Mr. Rahul is a Gandhi and only a Gandhi. That cannot be a critical criterion to become a Prime Minister.

Of course, there are many other qualities that a good Prime Minister must have, the idea of which we get when we study the personality of Mr. Narendra Modi: Good oratory or communication skill; good grasp of national conditions; good connect with international realities; good ability to connect with common people without histrionics; good ability to influence the people in one-on-one or public meets; good ability to command respect from people at all levels -- the highest and the lowest (without the help of pedigree); good understanding of historical flow of the nation’s culture and ethos; good grasp of the present-day realities at home and abroad; good ability to express transparently and spontaneously; good leadership competencies such as the ability to lend meaning to the nation’s goals, to lend a sense of purpose to the people’s contribution to national agenda, and finally the ability to rise above self-interest and offer leadership of the category of Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Mein Tumhe Azadi Doonga -- beyond smart words.  Does Mr. Rahul Gandhi have these capabilities if he wants to be Prime Minister? Has he ever had a good look at himself in the mirror of his own mind? He must answer these issues.