Great speech by Rahul Gandhi at FICCI – would have been better if there was no need for such a speech

For some years now, Rahul Gandhi has remained quiet when there were a number of scandals and scams breaking out all over the country. The huge amounts involved in the 2G, Coal, Commonwealth Games, and other scandals such as the Adarsh housing community have all seen something in common from the Congress – denial from the party spokespersons and ministers, statements that these were policy and that either CAG was over-stepping its authority and the courts were getting into policy matters. At the same time, the level of disgust with the Congress was growing. Another item in common was the total silence of the top duo of the Congress – Sonia and Rahul Gandhi on these matters; maybe they had been advised that these were all just the creation of an over-active media and that people will love the Congress and continue to vote for it. So, when these huge corruption scams were breaking out, the Congress did not really earn any credits for its behavior; similarly, on the question of price rise of essential food items, these 2 leaders were silent while others twisted themselves into trying to claim that inflation was benefiting the farmers and was out of the control of the Government.
And then in the space of a few weeks, the Congress leader is going into over-drive, first by pushing the Lokpal Bill through his party to become a law via parliamentary approval, and then today, giving a speech in FICCI where he suddenly seems to have said what people would have liked. Here he talked about corruption as something to be reduced, he talked about ensuring that environmental clearances should not become a hindrance (or atleast the assembled crowd of industrialists felt that this was the impression conveyed – the Rahul who had told the tribals in Orissa that he would be their primary supporter seemed to have gone into the background); all of these are items that are lapped up by business leaders. And if he was the PM candidate of the Congress and the BJP was the ruling party, all of it was to be applauded. But what do you make of a leader who talks about all this reform when his own party has not done any of this reform in the past 9 years; what they have done is enough corruption to forever taint the image of Manmohan Singh and remove that tag of honesty over his head.

I heard the speech, but was speechless in turn. The entire campaign against the Congress party is comprised of many elements, some of which he covered. He talked about taking steps, but there was absolutely no linkage with the Government of Manmohan Singh. And that is what flummoxed me – how can he detach himself from the UPA Government ? He by himself has no history of any kind of governance (not even run a NGO successfully), and in fact, seems to be continually benefiting from the fact that the Congress has been in Government for so long. Even the public perception about his role in pushing the Lokpal is combined with the fact that he and the Congress lost the recent state elections, and in order to try and show the public that they serious, the Lokpal was pushed. But when he proceeds on an alliance with Laloo Prasad Yadav or his party prevents Ashok Chavan from being prosecuted by the CBI, that sense of wonder gets disillusioned. And one can be sure that the media will highlight these cases as representative of the Congress only exhibiting a facade of fighting corruption, but when it comes to something critical, then the Congress will not really take action.

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