Rahul Gandhi takes a long sabbatical
Dasu Kesava Rao
The proverbial elephant is worth its weight, dead or alive. Likewise, whether in power or outside, in victory or defeat, Rahul Gandhi is always news, whatever he says or does not say, whatever he does or fails to do. His presence is news, his absence even bigger one.
Presumably cooling his heels in far-away Greece after a series of electoral setbacks or meditating seriously like Socrates over what has gone wrong, Raga has managed to grab headlines. It is not often that the shy guy performs his periodic vanishing act in a sulking or angry mood. Reports have it that Rahul is not so upset by the recurring defeats as by the party oldies who repeatedly throw the spanner in the works and thereby upset his revival package for the grand old party. He is said to be miffed that even Mom does not seem to be too sympathetic to his ideas. So off he goes abroad, leaving his large band of followers, well-wishers and sycophants in the lurch.
The Congress party as well as some newspapers fault Rahul Gandhi for his absence at such a crucial moment as the commencement of budget session of Parliament when he could have lent weight to the opposition attack on the NDA Government on the controversial land acquisition bill and other issues. A golden opportunity was lost to put Modi and co. on the mat, some papers wailed.
Coming back to the foreign trip, some people think it is his way of riding into the sunset while the more loyal assert that he will come back doubly stronger and assume the reins of the 130 year old party. Leaving political analysts to explain the reasons for Rahul’s vanishing trick, one wonders what is wrong if one goes on a vacation. Is he not entitled for a break from the rigours of politics? Should he be denied this pleasure just because he is Rahul? Is he not better than ministers and top bureaucrats who go abroad at the drop of a hat at the cost of public money? With some exceptions, most politicians do not want to leave the gaddi even for a moment. Where then is the question of a holiday? It is different in the west where presidents and prime ministers take regular breaks at seaside or hill resort. President Kennedy frequented Hyannisport and the Bush duo their ranch in Texas.
Jawaharlal Nehru visited Kashmir valley to relax. Get away from Delhi to chill out is a trend set by Rajiv Gandhi who escaped to Bharatpur wildlife sanctuary or the Andamans with family and friends like the Bachchans. The people too loved him for that – here is a guy who is not a chair monger. Rahul is now doing just that. India’s most eligible bachelor, we are told, has a girl-friend from Latin America where Miss World or Miss Universe beauties are churned out as if on assembly line. We can’t grudge the young man his opportunity to catch up with his love, if that is the idea of Raga’s latest trip. Ishq par zor nahin.
Rahul is referred to as reluctant prince and that politics is not his cup of tea. So were his parents. The late Rajiv Gandhi was happy as an airline pilot, but destiny had put him in the most powerful seat in the country. Sonia Gandhi went into a shell following the assassination of her husband, but was forced by squabbling Congress seniors to take over the party. The reluctant lady went on to become the post powerful leader of the country.
Meanwhile let us await the return of the sulking son to take over as the new president of the All India Congress Committee.