Date: 10 Aug 2010


Leaders missing in action: Sonia and Rahul////////////////// The Gandhis are letting the country down by failing to lead from the front ///////////// R Jagannathan//////////// If UPA-1 lived a charmed life under the Left's hectoring, UPA-2 is practically defunct, thanks to an absolute lack of leadership from the Big Three: Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The silence of the lamb — Manmohan Singh, who becomes a tiger only when LK Advani gets his goat — is understandable. He is not expected to lead. His main job is to keep the PM's chair warm for the heir apparent (or is it apparent heir?). He can tinker here and there, but nothing more. If anything works, the family can claim credit for it. If it doesn't, he can carry the can for it. ////////////// Both Sonia and Rahul have been disasters as leaders. But outside of blogosphere, you won't hear any of this. Our media handles the Gandhis with kid gloves, assuming — wrongly — that they are born to rule. /////////// As always, it took an outsider to exclaim that the would-be emperor had no clothes. In a stinging analysis of Rahul Gandhi's coming-of-age 40th birthday in June, The Economist made caustic comments in a piece headlined The Mysterious Mr Gandhi. ///////////// "Forty, after all, is not really that young. By then a man might be expected to have made his mark in the world, rather than be celebrating his coming-of-age. ///////////////// By the time they were Rahul's age, Mozart and Alexander the Great had both been dead for several years. At 33, Jesus Christ had preached, healed, died and risen. The comparison is not wholly unfair, since Rahul's disciples talk of him as India's saviour…" ///////////// Given its limited knowledge of Indian history, The Economist cannot be faulted for thinking only of Jesus and not Sankara or Mahavira or Buddha. While Sankara changed the course of Hinduism before he passed at age 32, the Buddha and Mahavira gave up their cushy lives and kingdoms to search for higher truths. This search gave birth to two great religions — Jainism and Buddhism. Rahul is busy doing the opposite: Trying to figure out how his meanderings across India can win him a kingdom in Delhi. //////////// Forget religious leaders. ////////// At 24, Bhagat Singh had energised an entire nation by courting martyrdom for his country. In contrast, Rahul is relying on a fawning media and the mask of humility to build his reputation. //////////// India is bleeding from a 1,000 unattended cuts, thanks not to the LeT or Maoists, but to the pusillanimity of its leaders who don't want to risk anything in order to remain in power. Manmohan Singh can do many things, but won't, because of a misplaced sense of loyalty to the dynasty. Sonia, who has all the power and authority she needs in the Congress party and outside, has shown no inclination to take the decisions the country needs — whether it is economic reforms or political initiatives to deal with Kashmir, ////////// Maoist violence, or anything. Rahul is allegedly trying to build the party, but I am yet to hear about one courageous stand he has taken against any real problem facing the nation. ///////// Of course, some party faithfuls will say that Sonia and Rahul are behind the NREGA initiative. This is tosh. Is there any politician in the world who has shown reluctance to throw taxpayers' money to buy votes? Pouring money into petroleum, fertilizer and social sector subsidies needs no political courage. Dealing with the crisis in Kashmir does. It needs leadership of a high order — something the current crop of Gandhis have completely lost sight of. //////////// It is a tragedy to see a Gandhi scion hiding behind mamma, shying away from the real challenges of life. Nehru battled sectarianism and put his political prestige on the line to fight Hindu traditionalists in the Congress party and outside. Indira Gandhi took on all the party bosses to establish her power and take the country forward. She took the fateful — unfortunate and wrong — decision to storm the Akal Takht and paid with her life. But she did not shrink from taking a decision. Rajiv Gandhi learnt from her mistakes and handled the next Golden Temple crisis intelligently. He also tried to bring peace to Sri Lanka by sending the IPKF to deal with the murderous LTTE. He, too, paid for it with his life. //////// The mark of a good leader is not that he or she always takes the right call, but that they are never afraid to take a decision in the national interest. In contrast, Sonia and Rahul have made no wrong move ever. They are courting power by abandoning the idea of leading. They are opportunists. This country needs leaders, not opportunists. ///////////// 000000000