RAHUL IS MAKING LIFE DIFFICULT FOR BJP

After Punjab and Maharashtra, he began his farmers connect exercise in Telangana. In Adilabad, during his 15 Kms Padyatra covering five villages where farmers have committed suicide, he took on Narendra Modi, his land acquisition bill and K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the Telangana chief minister, today.

After his around two month long sabbatical or leave of absence, Rahul is in aggressive mode and irrespective of who closed the Amethi Food Park (his own United Progressive Alliance government is responsible for it), the changed provisions of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s land acquisition bill, that undoes some important clauses of the land bill passed by the UPA government in September 2013, have opened a front for him to attack the government and do the politics of looking pro-poor.

He even met the civil society members on the diluted provisions of the real estate bill. The NDA government has changed or diluted provisions of the bill brought by the UPA government and he alleges the changed provisions to be anti-people.

Clearly, he sees a point here to score politically, and like anyone else in the politics, he is doing the same thing.

Yes, he is silent on Robert Vadra even if the government of Haryana has formed a one-man commission of retired Justice S. N. Dhingra, of Delhi High Court who sentenced Afzal Guru to death, to probe Vadra land deals in Haryana. Congress, naturally, has reacted on it. Vadra has welcomed the move hoping it will clear things.

Rahul who called K. Chandrasekhar Rao ‘mini Modi’ today has forced others, especially in the BJP, to take note of him. He cannot be dismissed anymore, like the politics of his past. Before his return, he had rarely spoken in the Parliament, two times in all, including his famed ‘Kalavati’ speech in 2008. Whatever is the intent of the day, he is making life difficult for the BJP.

He is making leaders in the BJP to attack him, either on the land bill, or on other issue of ‘politics of poor’. And that is what he needs, his politics needs at the moment.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RAHUL GANDHI ON TWITTER

India is slated to become the world’s youngest nation by 2020. The UN (UNFPA State of the World’s Population report) says 356 million (28%) of its population is in 15-24 age-group, largest in the world.

Census of India says around 48% India’s population is below 21.

65% of India’s population is below 35.

While writing this, India’s population is over 1.25 billion, world’s second most populous nation after China, and projected to take over China by 2050.

A report by the US (Special 301 Report for 2015) says India’s internet base is projected to be of 370 million users by this year end, the second largest in the world. The report says 213 users will be using mobile internet by this June.

India’s teledensity is around 100 crores (1000 million). Lowering of smartphone prices has quickened the spread of mobile internet in India, already large enough, especially among the youth and working-age population.

The world’s second largest telecom network is India now.

And it is projected to be the world’s fastest growing economy, overtaking the growth rate of China.

That would be in Rahul Gandhi’s mind when his office joined Twitter yesterday. But a Twitter handle @RahulGandhi or a similar one would be far better than @OfficeOfRG.

It may be a personal decision by a politician who is trying to be more aggressive in national politics after returning from his leave of absence.

And as he has had not any social media presence so far, he would have thought to test the waters first with @OfficeOfRG. Rahul has been a favourite social media trend so far, especially for jokes.

Even if not in his name, it is expected from Rahul Gandhi that he will take this initiative seriously. After all, voters, too, come from this working-age population.

The lack of action so far, on day-1 and day-2 can have their own benefits of doubt and we should be ready to give that.

Day-1 was about ‘waiting for Twitter authentication’ and day-2 may be about the first day of activity, with three tweets so far, with the latest one nine hours ago. Hope, the initiative will see more and robust action from day-3 onwards.

If he has to take on the government, if he has to target Narendra Modi, there are more than enough issues in Indian politics to write about, to take care of.

It is all about going beyond the symbolic representations this time, of a hand, of hands and of Robert Vadra.

Rahul Gandhi Twitter

Rahul Gandhi Twitter 2

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

‘MAYBE, YOU FIND ME STRANGE.’ – ‘NO, I DON’T FIND YOU STRANGE.’

The complete write-up

‘Maybe you find me strange.’ Rahul Gandhi, the interviewee, says. ‘No, I don’t find you strange.’ Arnab Goswami, the interviewer, says, during Rahul Gandhi’s first formal television interviewer after beginning the active political career.

A line during the course of conversation, or the interview, a line repeated to support the viewpoint, a line repeated to help the other lines already spoken during the course of the conversation, the line sums up the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’ in clear terms.

It tells us something direct, that subtle point about the politician Rahul Gandhi that the nation so desperately wanted to understand. That interest, that necessity to know the politician Rahul Gandhi is fading.

Multiple factors have been responsible for it. Major among them are Rahul’s silence on many issues of national and social importance, Rahul’s delayed and ‘not up to the mark’ act on many issues and the mammoth scale of corruption attributed to the corruption of the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

But still, there is scope left for us to know him, for he is the face of the oldest and the mostly widely spread political outfit of the country. Even if not in office as the prime minister, he, by his position, wields significant power in the country. That applies for Rahul Gandhi and his party being in the opposition in the Parliament as well.

The nation needs to know the politician Rahul Gandhi.

And this line, during the course of the conversation during his first formal television interview tells clearly about who is the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’.

On points where Rahul says that the interviewer may find ‘Rahul’ strange based on his answers during the conversation gives us a window to look into how Rahul thinks.

And what Rahul thinks constitutes for strange has become frustratingly routine for India. Becoming of that a ‘routine’ has been ironical for India. And it may well become ‘ironically routine’ for the Congress party if a transformation doesn’t come.

There can be alternative ways to look at it.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is subscribed to his viewpoint only believing what he thinks for India’s future is imperative for India and there is no one else but Rahul himself and his party (in the political spectrum) who can achieve it.

It tells us the politician Rahul Gandhi is someone who believes what he thinks deserves to be thought and propagated and what others expect from him may or may not matter. His viewpoint is deep and others’ superficial.

It tells us Rahul believes that the negative factors against Congress and the UPA government can be tackled by giving the people their chance to participate in the process of the ‘politics of change’.

It tells us Rahul believes the negatives factors, an absolutely high anti-incumbency, senseless acts leading to price-rise in every segment and senseless statements on price-rise, epidemic level of political corruption, are not that negative and are hyped up, blaming the media to be unfair of targeting his party and his party’s government.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is not fully aware how difficult it has become to handle the indifference to the Congress party.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who still thinks he is in his experimental days of politics and thinks people still think of his ideas as revolutionary, as game-changers. He still thinks people see him as the ‘politician with a difference’ that he initially sounded to be.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who still believes people take his family members’ views as true, honest, accepting whatever they say on its face-value.

It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is talking out of the context of the social and political reality of the India of the day, a social reality where the common man has become so frustrated with the present political system that he prefers a debutant like the Aam Aadmi Party; a political reality where every politician promises to be different and devoted to the cause of the common man when it comes to the elections, but starts behaving as the ruler once he assumes the office.

Then there is an alternative way to look at it, the ‘can also be’ way, on what this line spoken by Rahul Gandhi during his first formal television interview tells us about the politician Rahul Gandhi.

It can also tell us Rahul Gandhi is a mismatch to the political ecosystem of the Congress party as he thinks on high values of a democracy and wants to inculcate the culture in the nation but has not been able to push his ideas further because of the inherent obstacles existent in the work-culture of the Congress party.

If it is so, then it tells us about the fading magnetism of the Nehru-Gandhi family for the Congress politicians, but that is one highly unlikely scenario in the prevailing political circumstances of the country.

If it is so, then it tells us Rahul Gandhi sees an opportunity now to push his agenda further, when the grand old party of India is facing a historically low credibility crisis and other Congress politicians are in no position to raise points of objection.

But these are just the unlikely viewpoints that present an aspect of the Rahul Gandhi persona that suggest what he could have been.

On point of clarity, the most likely and the ‘direct, most possible’ interpretation of Rahul’s ‘may be, you find me strange’, in the prevailing circumstances, is – Rahul Ganndi is ‘still misreading the social and political reality of India and his family’s and Congress’ positioning in all this’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHAT RAHUL GANDHI CAN STILL DO TO SALVAGE THE SITUATION FOR CONGRESS

It looks all gloomy, beyond the point of return, at least, for this Lok Sabha polls, with the polls just two months away.

The opinionating is increasingly voicing its outrage against the Congress party and the United Progressive Alliance government, the union government of India, led by the Congress party and headed by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.

The run of analyses and the subsequent trends are foretelling a historic loss for the Congress party with all pre-poll surveys giving the grand old party of India a historically low representation in the Lok Sabha.

Absolutely high anti-incumbency, senseless acts leading to price-rise in very segment and senseless statements on price-rise, epidemic level of political corruption – the humiliation that the party had in the recently held assembly polls was not without its ground.

Still, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party can expect (in real terms) to reclaim the lost ground if Rahul Gandhi does certain radical things, proving innocence of his thoughts and genuineness of his concerns when he talks about the politics of change, when he says he wants to involve the nation in the process of changing the System.

Yes, unthinkably radical they are when we see them in the context of the prevailing polity of the Congress party:

Apoligising to the nation, unconditionally, for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (and ensuring that the justice be done finally, irrespective of who gets what, independent of the affiliations of the people involved)

Distancing completely from the Robert Vadra controversies over the corruption allegations and ensuring that law takes its course (independent of the family and party affiliations of the people involved)

Distancing his personal and political persona from the appeasement poll planks like getting the Jains the ‘minority’ tag or other policies to secure short-term electoral mileage like the incessant rant of Muslim reservation before every election, that, in the long-run, divide the societies. Yes, I am pro-reservation and a supporter of the affirmative action by the state, but, after 60 years, it is the high time that we look at the methods involved to assess the achievements and acidic effects that it has had on our society.

Ensuring that the Adarsh Commission report is implemented in honest spirit (yes, and ensuring that the culprits don’t get a chance to manipulate the System, irrespective of who gets what, independent of the affiliations of the people involved)

Launching a movement and exerting his political influence honestly to let the political parties under the purview of the RTI Act (getting the bill, that intends to amend the RTI Act to get the political parties out of the purview of the RTI Act, bypassing the Central Information Commission’s order of June 3, 2013, out of the legislative stalemate, and thus killing it finally, and not shielding behind the arguments like the RTI Act doesn’t cover the Judiciary or the Press and the political parties’ inclusion under the RTI Act needs to be seen in that context, as he said in a recent TV interview.)

No one can say of the outcome with surety but doing so in quick succession, within the limit of the limited time-frame available before the Lok Sabha polls, would certainly help the Brand Rahul Gandhi in unexpected and positive ways.

Yes, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party need to do so honestly to realise that. But can Rahul do that? The radical elements involved in doing so will bust many. Is he ready to pay the price to play it genuine, to walk-the-talk, to play it long-term?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

‘MAYBE, YOU FIND ME STRANGE.’ – ‘NO, I DON’T FIND YOU STRANGE.’

‘Maybe you find me strange.’ Rahul Gandhi, the interviewee, says. ‘No, I don’t find you strange.’ Arnab Goswami, the interviewer, says, during Rahul Gandhi’s first formal television interview after beginning the active political career.

A line during the course of conversation, or the interview, a line repeated to support the viewpoint, a line repeated to help the other lines already spoken during the course of the conversation, the line sums up the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’ in clear terms.

It tells us something direct, that subtle point about the politician Rahul Gandhi that the nation so desperately wanted to understand. That interest, that necessity to know the politician Rahul Gandhi is fading.

Multiple factors have been responsible for it. Major among them are Rahul’s silence on many issues of national and social importance, Rahul’s delayed and ‘not up to the mark’ act on many issues and the mammoth scale of corruption attributed to the (miss)-governance of the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

But still, there is scope left for us to know him, for he is the face of the oldest and the mostly widely spread political outfit of the country. Even if not in the office as the prime minister, he, by his position, wields significant power in the country. That applies for Rahul Gandhi and his party being in the opposition in the Parliament as well.

The nation needs to know the politician Rahul Gandhi.

And this line, during the course of the conversation during his first formal television interview tells clearly about who is the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’.

On points where Rahul says that the interviewer may find ‘Rahul’ strange based on ‘Rahul’s’ answers during the conversation gives us a window to look into how Rahul thinks.

And what Rahul thinks constitutes for strange has become frustratingly routine for India. Becoming of that a ‘routine’ has been ironical for India. And it may well become ‘ironically routine’ for the Congress party if a transformation doesn’t come in time.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SO, RAHUL GANDHI BEGINS WITH HIS ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS

So, it was a highly publicized, first television appearance of Rahul Gandhi for a personal interview. Let me be honest, I didn’t catch the initial part of it but what I could go through was more than enough.

It was like a Rahul Gandhi speech in terms of where Rahul Gandhi sounded confident, the grand vision that he and his party have for India, and the grand achievements, he and his grand old party have stacked over the years while pushing the India story on an upward growth curve (obviously, as claimed, the verity, the substance of which is validly questioned, time and again).

But he faltered, he floundered and he floundered badly where he faced tough questions on controversial issues like the 1984 anti-Sikh riots or corruption or price rise. He did not have answers or he did not know what to say. He simply did not know how to defend something that could never be defended logically.

Like always, there was nothing new in what Rahul Gandhi said or argued about, but whatever he says has to be taken into the larger picture of India, its sociopolitical and economy parameters, because he is the prime-ministerial choice of the main party of the ruling coalition of the country.

Some random observations on his interview:

Rahul Gandhi clearly faltering in the Arnab Goswami interview! Poor background work again.

The interviewer asks Rahul Gandhi if he would offer apology for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots – Rahul looks for answers – answers don’t come – he doesn’t want to answer – he doesn’t want to apologize either.

Arnab’s Rahul Gandhi interview: Unacceptable answer of Rahul on RTI. He falters again. Political parties under RTI – why can’t the ‘politician with a difference’ in him say yes, the political parties should come under RTI? But he tries to shift the locus by giving irrelevant examples like the Judiciary not being under RTI.

Ashok Chavan Vs Ashok Kumar: Rahul Gandhi mixes up though his party is defending the tainted former Maharashtra CM. He just not names him wrongly; he also, miserably, falls short on defending his and his party’s stand on corruption.

Rahul Gandhi: no tolerance for corruption yet shields behind the flaws of the legal system – defends his party’s ‘unacceptable corruption’ by shifting the poles – claims the tall claims in his way of rhetoric.

Rahul evades answers on corruption allegations on Ashok Chavan, Virbhadra Singh. Talks of making politics participative – yet, he doesn’t participate in the most fundamental of the discussions – shields behind talking on long-term goals when he fails to defend the present set-up, run by his party and other political parties like his grand old party.

Defends alliance with RJD: Folks, did you know Lalu Yadav’s RJD was an idea or to say alternatively, could it remain an idea any longer, as soon as Lalu assumed the office in Bihar?

Issues and issues – Rahul not coming with answers – clearly not able to defend his stand – clearly not able to defend his political persona – clearly not able to defend his so famous silence when he was so needed to speak on – clearly not able to take the questions head on. Who suggested for an interview after all. And, the next one is coming soon.

Change at the bottom Vs change at the top: Rahul is going to open the system – with him and his party politicians coming from political dynasties working to check the ‘proliferation of dynasties’. Who is going to take it?

Rahul Gandhi is not a superficial chap (as he tells the interviewer). People think Rahul is thinking deeply and thinking long-term (as he tells the interviewer). Rahul talks anti-System of a System his party and his family has been the major contributors of.

‘Change’, ‘Superficiality’, ‘I am different’, ‘No thirst for power’, ‘People at the bottom’, ‘System’, ‘Anti-System’, ‘Empowering the women’, ‘Youngsters’, ‘Zero-tolerance for corruption’, ‘Thinking long-term’ – some of the thematic words from Rahul Gandhi’s interview.

Not born a Gandhi, would you have been in politics still? No answer, but it is natural. He just talked. Hope, some day, he would walk the talk.

Some other elements from his interview: Deeper questions – why power so concentrated – policy made in closed doors – open up the system – role of women – jobs for youngsters – if he would have spoken out earlier – opening up the structure – that’s the bottom line, changing paradigms – and so on

Rahul sounded more like desirous of answering what he wanted to do (deeper thinking issues as per him). He felt uncomfortable whenever he faced controversial issues (he tried to label as superficial issues).

Like on asking (more than once) if he was open for a debate between the key candidates on key issues, he said a national debate was already happening – by comparing works of his party to that of the opponents.

Let’s see how goes the next leg of this exercise of political branding of the brand Rahul Gandhi.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RAHUL GANDHI’S LATEST BRANDING BLITZ: WHAT’S NEW, WHY ALL THIS FUSS?

Why so much of gyan, concern, debate and deliberation over it?

It is an open secret.

Even politicians from economically backward states like Bihar or Jharkhand or politicians from culturally backward states like Haryana or Rajasthan or from Western Uttar Pradesh use them, especially those who have lager game-plan for their political future, like playing a centre-stage role in state polity. And the situation is becoming chronic (or, alternatively, more relevant) with politicians who aspire for sustained and enhanced presence in the national politics.

A Public Relations consultant or a PR consultancy is rapidly becoming the in-thing for them.

I have been approached by some though I did not take the assignments. But I know professionals, at different levels of their PR profile, handling accounts of individual politicians.

Yes, they do all to keep it secret but as said above, such things are always an open secret, at least for them who are in the game.

So, why this fuss over Rahul Gandhi’s branding or we should say the latest episode in Rahul Gandhi’s branding exercise, so much so that the Congress spokespersons had to come forward to issue official denial(s) to the reports.

But it is not a new initiative.

Much has been written over the brand management efforts centered at Rahul Gandhi, his team of strategists, the Team RG, his ‘style’ of politics, his oratory skills and his body language and gestures.

The debate on whether Congress is hiring image-makeover consultants is a misplaced one. Irrespective of the Congress denial, the elements and the frequency of scheduling of the communication campaign of Congress and thus the projection of Rahul Gandhi and his team would tell the public the imprints of professionals behind the exercise and would certainly tell the people who can identify the experts by their work if Dentsu, JWT and Genesis Burson-Marsteller are involved or not.

Also, the exclamatory observations over this Rs. 500 crore are utterly misplaced when we see the cost of the regular political ad campaigns like a ‘Bharat Nirman’ that counts in thousands of crores.

Let’s quote some of the easily searchable (with simple, routine googling) article excerpts from media reports on Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s branding exercise:

Congress ad blitzkrieg in the works – Business Standard, September 12, 2013 (1)
Till date, 11 agencies including JWT, Percept, Crayons, Equus and Grey have made ad pitches to the team comprising Singh, Ajay Maken, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jairam Ramesh, Deepinder Hooda, Vishwajit Prithvijit Singh, Manish Tewari at the party’s ‘War Room’ at GRG Marg. The presentations are then sent to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is likely to be the party’s face of the 2014 campaign. However, the final call, would be taken by Rahul and party president Sonia Gandhi, sources added.

In the last 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Crayons and Percept had bagged the Congress ad contract. No agency had been finalised as yet for this year, said a senior Congress leader.

2014 Elections: Congress signs up JWT for Rs 550-cr poll campaign; to counter Narendra Modi’s ‘claims’ – The Economic Times, September 2013 (2)
Congress has engaged advertising agency JWT for a Rs 500-crore publicity blitz to stymie the challenge posed by BJP’s Narendra Modi and help smoothen its path to a hat-trick in the 2014 general elections by hardselling its welfare credentials.

Ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, JWT, Crayons and Percept had handled the party’s ad campaign, which included purchasing rights of AR Rahman’s Oscar-winning number ‘Jai Ho’.

In 2004, the Congress campaign was mainly handled by Leo Burnett, which packaged its Aam Aadmi messaging that helped the party undercut NDA’s ‘India Shining’ campaign. Some of the work in the 2004 campaign, notably ad films, was handled by Percept, the agency behind the ongoing Bharat Nirmaan campaign.

Congress picks Dentsu, Taproot & JWT for poll ad campaign – The Economic Times, October 8, 2013
The Congress party has opted for many of the same people who were behind its advertising campaign for the 2009 elections, picking Dentsu and Taproot to join JWT as the agencies that will handle the Rs 500 crore contract.

Okay, now these three reports should be enough to gauge for the curious fellows on how regular this practices has been. Yes, most of these reports talk about Congress and poll preparations but only an immature mind (of a communication pro) can see Congress and Rahul differently while preparing a brand management (and thus performance) strategy for Congress.

Also, before this, Rahul was running the show in a roundabout way. Now, he is the face. So, this time, it has to be more direct, centering on him, because stakes are highly unprecedented, highly delicately skewed.

So, if earlier, it was around Congress and projecting Rahul was a part of it, this time, it is going to be around Rahul and Congress is going to follow the leads from projections and imagery about Rahul Gandhi.

The change of guard is going to focus the Rahul Gandhi way of politics (the way he talks about it, especially in post-Aam Aadmi Party scenario) as the central theme of the communication campaign in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

Also, whenever there are no hopes left for the Congress party, as is the case now with absolutely high anti-incumbency against the Manmohan Singh led UPA government, the party leaders has nothing but to look to the Nehru-Gandhi family as the last resort. Now, the effectiveness of this last resort has not been consistent, but at least, it gives the party leaders a point to base their hopes in the atmosphere of 360 Degree gloom.

And to fight this atmosphere of 360 Degree gloom, the Congress party is going to soak itself deeply in the blitzkrieg of a 360 Degree communication campaign employing tools of advertising and public relations hoping it would make for the lost ground.

Rahul Gandhi or Congress taking help of image management consultants for the upcoming general elections is a regular political communication campaign, an effort that has no guarantee of ROI (return on investment), more so, in the prevailing political circumstances.

We saw the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) ‘India Shining’ campaign failing to deliver. The Rahul Gandhi brand management exercise coupled with ‘Bharat Nirman 2.0’ could well be a repeat of the ‘India Shining’ campaign.

The outcome may be as challenging as the evolution of the ownership structures of the advertising and public relations agencies and their holding groups!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

1 http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/congress-ad-blitzkrieg-in-the-works-113091100632_1.html
2 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-09-11/news/41971845_1_jwt-congress-campaign-congress-war-room
3 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-08/news/42829373_1_ad-agencies-congress-party-election-campaign

ADARSH SCAM REPORT REJECTED: RAHUL GANDHI JUST MISSED YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY

Symbolically shambolic or shambolically symbolic! – “Biggest issue is corruption, it is an unacceptable burden on our people. We must fight corruption”

Rahul Gandhi, was, again, delivering a speech remixing the verbal elements of his speechmaking which we have become so familiar with. He was discussing the problems of India with corporate leaders. And he again spoke on corruption, in his usual style, talking big, when the acts of the many of the Congress leaders directly defy his words. In fact, if we go by the need to set the precedent, even his family needs to come clean on corruption allegations on Robert Vadra, his brother-in-law.

Anyway, that is the regular, usual stuff, keeps on happening, and keeps on defying Rahul’s words.

This time, the push for writing this came from a coincidental turn of events involving Rahul Gandhi, Congress, a speech on corruption and an act of corruption cover-up.

On December 20, the Adarsh Housing Society scam report was tabled in the Maharashtra assembly and summarily rejected by the state government. The chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, considered relatively clean on corruption, didn’t give any reason.

The report was prepared by a two-member commission (Adarsh Commission) headed by a retired Justice of the Bombay High Court, JA Patil, to look into the allegations of corruption and irregularities in the construction of Adarsh Housing Cooperative Society in Mumbai.

The report indicted four farmer Maharashtra chief ministers and Congress politicians including Sushilkumar Shinde, the Union Home Minister now, and Ashok Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh, former chief ministers of Maharashtra. With many bureaucrats, the report also indicted two influential NCP politicians who are ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet.

This happened on December 20, Friday.

On December 21, Saturday, Rahul addressed the corporate leaders at FICCI Annual General Meeting, talking big again on corruption.

How hollow, how disconnected such statements sound when the reality defies them upfront; when the reality and such statements by Rahul Gandhi become extremes to bridge the gap?

It is as counterfeit as Congress rushing to take credit of passing the Lokpal Bill even if the Congress is the main culprit to let the Bill linger for almost 45 years!

“Corruption is bleeding our people dry. It is an unacceptable burden on the people of our nation. We must fight corruption with all our strength and determination” – how could Rahul speak so, on December 21, addressing the FICCI AGM – just a day after his party’s government and chief minister rejected an impartial judicial commission report on a scam that shook the nation and cost a chief minister his chair?

It was really an opportunity missed and it also tells Rahul and Congress didn’t learn anything from the recent poll humiliations in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and from AAP’s unprecedented victory in Delhi. On December 8 evening, Rahul Gandhi had conceded the defeat saying his party needed to learn from AAP. Corruption and anti-establishment demands anti- the ‘present system of governance’ were the major poll planks of AAP, or the Aam Aadmi Party.

Had it been a serious thought on December 8 evening when the election results of four states were announced, we would not have seen happening what happened on December 20 in Maharashtra.

The time is running out. Talking big and talking radical is not going to help. Such a veil cannot be maintained for long and the prevailing political circumstances make it imperative for Rahul and Congress to change when the electorate is ready for political experiments like AAP. Yes, AAP is not beyond valid reasons of doubt, but it is certainly a point to begin.

Rahul and Congress need to act now, and given the mess, the political abyss, they are in, they need to act radically.

Adarsh Commission report could have been an opportunity to begin but it has been missed. A positive approach on the Adarsh Commission enquiry report, indicting big names, would certainly be a fitting, radical anti-corruption step taken.

The ‘change in politics’ that Rahul Gandhi has been talking about, even more repeatedly after his elevation as the Congress Vice-president, needs ‘politics of change’ that is much bigger than saving a Sushilkumar Shinde.

Mr. Gandhi you must, (if not react on), read and think over what Justice Patil said on rejection of his report: “We have a clear idea in our mind of what happened (referring to the Adarsh scam). Based on that we submitted our report after recording the evidence of several witnesses and perusing relevant documents. The findings were not palatable to the government and hence it must have been rejected.”

Start acting. It is already too late!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RAHUL GANDHI: FROM WORDS OF DECEMBER 8 TO WORDS OF DECEMBER 14 – WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

Some six days ago, on December 8 evening, after much cry, after much of the hoarse jugglery, after much humiliation of the miserable of the lot that day, the Congress spokespersons, Rahul Gandhi came forward, flanked and supported by his mother and the Congress party numero uno, Sonia Gandhi, and he said (smiling but in his familiar aggressive style, though without the gestures of his moving hands) it in a way like making a grand proclamation.

And he said (quoting the Wall Street Journal*): Through these elections, the people have delivered a message. That message has been taken by me and our party not just with our minds, but with our hearts. The Congress party has the ability to transform itself, to stand up to the expectations of the people of this country and the Congress party is going to do that.

I am going to put all my efforts in transforming the organization of the Congress party and…give you an organization that you can be proud of and has your voice embedded inside it.

I think the Aam Aadmi Party has involved a lot of people who the traditional parties did not involve. We are going to learn from that and we are going to do a better job than anyone else in the country in ways that you cannot imagine right now.

And for aggression, another media report (the Indian Express**) said: Rahul said he would work aggressively to make the organisational changes that are needed.

Talking big, enumerating the grand, it would have been so good for Indian politics but for the many let-downs after the ‘Kalawati’ speech delivered by Rahul Gandhi in the Parliament in 2008.

And yesterday was yet another.

Like always, there were demands for Rahul Gandhi to get more communicating, more interactive, more involved, after the drubbing of the Congress party in the assembly polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

And surprisingly, Rahul Gandhi did come forward on December 8, offering his vision of ‘days ahead’ in some nicely spoken, introspective words the excerpts of which are in italics here.

So, when it was conveyed yesterday that Rahul Gandhi would hold a press conference on Lokpal, it was interesting to watch what he was going to speak, whether the introspective words spoken in the evening of December 8 were going to have any effect.

But, the tradition of ‘let-downs’ continued that evening.

The presser was a brief one with Rahul speaking what we have been listening to and what we do not want to listen to anymore (even the electorate spoke so this time). Even for Rahul to emerge on the line of the expectations he had raised when he had begun his political career, he needs to put a different approach in place now, moving in action, and not just in words.

But worse, the second public appearance, after the introspective words of December 8 evening sounded hollow even on words.

He spoke to sound dismissive of Anna Hazare’s ongoing protest Fast for the Lokpal Bill, AAP’s stunning success in Delhi assembly election being a reason behind the sudden attentiveness in the government to pass the Bill in the Winter Session of the Parliament, and thus the public’s eagerness and the sense of urgency in looking for a political change away from the mainstream political lot of the country.

Had it been for the validity of the introspective words of December 8 evening, he should have accepted honestly that these developments indeed were the primary factors behind the sudden spurt in the attentiveness to get the Lokpal Bill passed.

Instead, once again, he chose to shield the empty rhetoric of ‘everything good in India is by Congress’ with empty claims of Congress enacting the RTI Act and UPA’s other anti-corruption efforts. Listening to such claims again and again, from representatives of a government that is undoubtedly the most corrupt of the governments in India, makes all this so disconcerting, and goes directly against Rahul Gandhi.

When would Rahul Gandhi and the Team Rahul Gandhi understand it?

When would Rahul Gandhi and his team of strategists understand that they need to stop treating the voters as the perennial fools who cannot not think why the RTI Act took two decades of struggle to get passed and why the Lokpal Bill is still not there even after over four decades of ‘history of debacles’ in spite of Congress being in the government most of the time?

Accepting the faults gracefully and moving ahead accordingly (not just in words) would make him more acceptable among the youth and larger population base and he needs to realize it soon.

The humiliating defeat of the grand old party of India, the Congress party, in the recently concluded assembly elections, was yet another warning call for the party strategists. But are there any takers?

..message taken with heart..expectations..transformation..pushing aggressively..the words spoken on December 8 evening and now comes the December 14 afternoon!

This evening’s presser by Rahul Gandhi, flanked by some senior ministers of the Manmohan Singh government says NO.

Certainly not a way to involve the ‘Aam Aadmi’, the common man of India, in the changing times!

Certainly not a way to a more involved, more participative Rahul Gandhi!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/