It was a Sunday full of political developments.
First came the day’s first development. Narendra Modi took classes of his MPs (members of parliament) where he talked about the achievements of his government so far and pressed on the need to take the work to the public – ‘the work done by the government for the public must be taken to the public’.
The meet was being held under the clouds of Congress’ farmers rally and Modi sounded pro-people emphasising on the version of the land bill brought by his government and how it was better than the one brought by Congress’ in September 2013.
While making claims of such achievements, Modi must keep in mind that Sonia Gandhi and his trusted aide Manmohan Singh, the previous prime-minister (prime-minister of two terms, one highly successful, one highly corrosive – but he could not come out of the shadow of being a ‘yes man’ for Sonia Gandhi), also emphasised on a similar need – to take the work done by the government – for the people – to the people. And it is to be seen in the context that Sonia and Manmohan started feeling this need more pressingly when all the projected reports started indicating a clear rout for the Congress party and thus Manmohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance government.
Meanwhile, it was broken on airwaves that Sitaram Yechury was expected to be the next General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as the party veteran S. Ramachandran Pillai had withdrawn his name.
Then came the next development.
The proposed mega rally of farmers by the Congress party at the Ramlila Ground of Delhi!
The rally began as it was being projected – as Congress’ initiative aimed at reclaiming the lost ground and beginning of the process had to be the National Democratic Alliance’s (led by the BJP, the party that rode to the power with clear mandate in 30 years, defeating the Congress) land acquisition ordinance which ‘it says is substantially different from the one passed by it in 2013, contains many harmful provisions and is clearly anti-farmer’.
And as – Rahul Gandhi’s comeback event.
But nothing changed. And nothing has changed it seems.
As expected, Rahul and Sonia came late. Manmohan Singh was mentioned in references, and was there in the front row, with a brief speech. After all, he was the previous prime-minister and Congress had its land acquisition bill during his second term.
Before them, there was a long list of Congress spokespersons and leaders to speak, to keep the audiences there till it was the turn of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. But they bored them it seems. Also, Delhi’s heat was partly responsible, if we can say so. Today was the hottest day of Delhi thanks to the heat wave from Rajasthan that created some ‘away from the trend’ scene for Delhi.
Rahul spoke in the same way as he had been speaking. He spoke like ‘he was speaking while beginning his parliamentary career’. He spoke like ‘he was speaking four years ago’. He spoke like ‘he was speaking after the humiliating loss in the general elections last May’. He spoke like ‘he was speaking after the complete decimation in the Delhi assembly polls’.
He spoke like a typical political rival of Narendra Modi the way ‘he has always been speaking’.
If indeed it was a Rahul’s comeback event, there wasn’t anything like ‘comeback’ in this rally.
If there was indeed a leave of absence, its impact was limited to the inner faculties of Rahul Gandhi because outwardly, we could not see anything.
Moreover, after Rahul’s routine speech, expected on expected lines, people started leaving the Ramlila Ground even if Sonia was speaking. Also, none of the speeches, including that of Rahul, was impressive or earth-shattering.
It was, basically the same stuff about government being anti-farmer and Congress being pro-farmer, that we have been hearing about.
Also, the rally that was being promoted as Congress’ launch-pad and Rahul’s comeback event, was not at all had to be a place for empty rows. But empty rows were increasing in count as Sonia Gandhi was speaking.
Many farmers, brought to the rally venue, in trains and in buses, chose to leave the venue after listening to the leader who had brought them. Clearly, factionalism in the party, an increasingly nagging subject, was visible to everyone there.
So, while Rahul’s vacation or leave of absence or sabbatical (or absence) may secure him the President’s chair of the Congress party, as is reported and being discussed, but it is certainly not going to help the Congress party in the long run, if we read the signs now.
Then came the confirmational news from the Andhra Pradesh port city Visakhapatnam. Sitaram Yechury was elected the next General Secretary of CPI(M) anonymously after Pillai’s withdrawal on the last day of the party congress.
With it, the party got all new today – a new Central Committee, five permanent invitees and five special invitees and so on.
Midst a fading relevance!
The new General Secretary who takes over from Prakash Karat, a GS of three terms, has his task cut out. He has to make the politics of the Left Front relevant again. He has to win back bastions like West Bengal and Kerala. He has to extend the work of Manik Sarkar in Tripura, the only state (and politically not of much importance when we see it in Delhi’s context) where the CPI(M) is in government.
But he doesn’t know how.
The road ahead to the political relevance is chequered and plagued for the Left Front and India of the day is not offering any roadmap for revival.
Let’s see how he take the march forward. The one good thing that he said after taking over was ‘merger’ with the Communist Party of India (CPI). But then, there is no time-frame for the proposal to unite again. Apart from it was the routine stuff – like use of ‘comeback’ and ‘turnaround’ during his takeover speech.
Three big ticket developments a day before the Lok Sabha resumes – Narendra Modi comes from yet another successful foreign trip and delivers a speech for the BJP MPs during a work-shop – Rahul Gandhi makes first public appearance during a highly publicised Congress’ rally (a website was also launched) to take on the government’s land acquisition policy – CPI(M) gets its next General Secretary – and the related snippets – a Sunday is usually not news-heavy, but today it was.
And though, we did not reach at any point on the course of the contemporary political history of India (as expected), it well added to the political recipe of the day – a Sunday before a Monday – a Monday when the Lok Sabha is going to resume its session.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/