THE SUNDAY SENTIMENT
RAHUL IS THE LEADER
Nobody in the country, not even those who oppose Congress, deny that Mr. Rahul Singh is the leader of the Congress Party. The only point that needs to be settled is whether he stands at No. 1 or 2. Yet, every now and then every Congress leader, including our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh himself is too eager to acknowledge that Mr. Rahul is the leader. Dr Singh has displayed that exemplary sportsman spirit that he has publicly declared that he would vacate the prime minister's chair for Mr. Rahul the moment Party, meaning Mrs. Sonia Gandhi asks. He is that much forthcoming that he says he's willing to work under him. Dr. Singh's action looks akin to that of a great batsman who in his effort to strike a sixer to complete a century gives a great catch to the opposite team.
Some say that the quality a political leader should imbibe in him/herself to be successful is the quality and quantity of elasticity and flexibility he can exercise in his thought and action. Rigidity in politics, some argue doesn't pay. A person's body, they say, is flexible as long as he is alive; the moment he is dead, he is as hard as dead wood, inflexible. That rare quality Dr. Singh has displayed so many times.
His government under his chairmanship introduced during the last monsoon session of Parliament a Bill to nullify the spirit of the Supreme Court direction on convicted MPs .When it failed to get the Bill through, it later drafted an Ordinance which it sent to the President for his approval. It didn't struck to Dr. Singh at that his leader, Rahul Gandhi, had his reservations on the issue.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi, too, did keep quiet when the Bill was introduced in Parliament. He continued to maintain his silence when the Core Committee of the Congress presided over by his mother, Congress chief Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, approved the text of the Ordinance which was later cleared by the Manmohan Cabinet and sent to President of India.
The President refused to oblige and sign blindly on the dotted lines. He consulted some legal experts in the government. He also called Home Minister Sushil Shinde and Law Minister Kapil Sibbal for clarifications. This sent some shock waves to the Manmohan government and Congress.
This situation startled out the Congress No. 2 Rahul out of slumber and a state of numbness and dumbness. He gate-crashed into the Press Club press conference of Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken who was singing eulogies of the Ordinance. Mr. Maken gave in to Mr. Rahul who dubbed the Ordinance in now famous words spoken as his "personal opinion": It is a "complete non-sense" and deserves to be torn up. This made Mr. Maken to realize his mistake and in the next breath, continuing with his address to the press people, he declared that Mr. Rahul's views were the party's authorized views.
When Dr. Singh's supporters and well-wishers were pining at this snub hurled at the prime minister and his former media adviser Sanjay Baru said Dr. Singh is left with no other option but to resign, Dr. Singh himself struck a different note in USA. He 'suddenly' recalled that Mr. Rahul had written to him in this behalf and he would address his concerns on return to the country. He did not explain when did he receive the letter and why did he ignore his views while formulating the Bill and the Ordinance earlier.
On return Dr. Singh made a complete about-turn. He withdrew the Ordinance and the Bill was also decided to be withdrawn from Parliament. This left everyone happy. The President too was spared the trouble of signing a "complete non-sense".
IN CONGRESS WHO'S THE LEADER?
In Congress who's the leader – the real one with authority? It is a mystery. Dr. Manmohan Singh accepts both Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi as his leaders and is willing to work under Mr. Rahul. Mrs. Gandhi accepts Manmohan Singh as "her' prime minister. This situation lends credence to the opposition charge that Dr. Singh is in office but not in power.
With Parliament elections just six months away, it is not certain who will be Congress Party's prime ministerial candidate. Everybody, including Dr. Manmohan Singh, says that Mr. Rahul Gandhi has all the wherewithals of a prime minister. Dr. Singh though refuses to say that he is in the race, yet he does not "rule out" a third stint for him. Mrs. Gandhi remains non-committal. Others say it is Mr. Rahul Gandhi who has to take a final decision in consultation with his mother. At the moment it looks the triumvirate of Sonia-Rahul-Manmohan runs the party and the government. The Ordinance episode is not the first instance where the triumvirate has been found to be wanting and pulling in three different directions. It is in the interest of the Congress party, the government and the nation that Congress finally takes a call who would be the leader.
Dr. Manmohan Singh inspires, Pakistan conspires against India numerous times to cater to Singh's insatiable desires for the peace process with Pakistan to go on.
October 13, 2013