POLITICS IS THE ART & CRAFT OF BEFOOLING PEOPLE
It is politicians themselves alone who have defiled the precept and practice of politics. It is they who have degraded those who are in power today or can be tomorrow. That is why politics is now being recognized as the art of befooling people. It is called the game scoundrels play. A writer defined politics as "the art of getting votes from the poor and money from the rich on the pretext of protecting each from the other".
Numerous instances can be quoted to support the above description of politics. There is no gainsaying the fact that politicians in India take the people as fools who, like herds of cattle, can be shouted away to any direction they like. It is generally believed, more so by politicians, that people, nay voters, have a short memory and, therefore, easy and useful to cheat the people for their political and electoral purposes with their glib talk. This has paid dividends to politicians many a time.
But equally wrong is to think that people are fools or they can be befooled at all the occasions for all the time.
Latest in the Congress party's decision not to name its prime ministerial candidate for the coming 2014 parliament elections. It is the unchallenged privilege of a political party to fight an election or not. Equally is it its right to project its chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate.
We follow the Westminster form of parliamentary democracy and many of the traditions followed in Great Britain. It has practically a two-party system. Therefore, the person under whose leadership the elections are held is the natural choice for prime ministership. In the alternative, the incumbent prime minister is the person who seeks a fresh mandate for his party.
Only those parties in opposition which do not contest all the seats in parliament do not — and need not — project their prime ministerial candidates because doing so amounts to becoming a laughing stock of the people. If a party that is not contesting that number of seats which can give it a majority and still announces its prime ministerial candidate, it is just kidding itself and the electorate?
In the present context, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has already declared that he will hang his boots after the next election. That means that if Congress-led UPA is returned to power once again, it has to have a person under whom the elections are held and who will be the prime minister if it wins at the hustings. Whenever the Congress went in for elections whether under Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru or Mrs. Indira Gandhi, there was never a doubt in the mind of the party and the people as to who will be the prime minister if the party wins majority. It was never in doubt even when party contested 1984, 1989 or 1991 polls for Parliament under Rajiv Gandhi. It was a different matter when Rajiv Gandhi was killed during election campaign in 1991 elections and Narasimha Rao had to take his place.
The 1996 and 2004 elections to parliament were held under Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's leadership with the electorate never in doubt that if Party wins she and she alone will be the prime minister. It remains a mystery that Mrs. Gandhi who went to meet the President with a claim to majority support in Parlament and to seek an invitation to form a government, on return surprised everybody saying that she will not be the prime minister and instead nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh.
At the moment there was no shortage of top leadership demanding in a chorus that Rahul should be elevated as prime minister. Some wanted it right now. Even before and after the elections to five State assemblies in December 2013 Rahul Gandhi being thrown up as the Congress Party's PM candidate were doing the rounds in media and political circles. Endorsing Rahul Gandhi, Dr. Singh on January 3 said that Rahul is an able person with all the "outstanding credentials" needed to be a prime minister. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on December 31 wanted Congress to name its prime ministerial candidate.
In an interview to the Hindi daily Bhaskar Rahul himself said, "In the national interest, it is necessary that Congress forms the government at the Centre; and in this direction whatever responsibilities the organisation has given me, I will discharge them with utmost sincerity and honesty." There was a media hype that on January 17 during the AICC meeting Rahul will be nominated the prime ministerial candidate. But Mrs. Sonia Gandhi put her foot down that Rahul will not be projected as party's prime ministerial candidate. Even when there were shouts in his favour, she remained unmoved.
It is a clever move on the part of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Rahul has been made the chief of the party election campaign committee. In this way both Mrs. Soniga and Rahul wish to eat the cake and have it too. In case the party wins, Rahul will hog all the limelight and emerge the 'natural' candidate for prime ministership. In case it is otherwise, Congress will claim that Rahul was not in the race. If he is made the prime ministerial hopeful and loses, it would amount to sealing Rahul's fate for ever. This is what Mrs. Gandhi has strategized.
In this connection, BJP prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Narinder Modi's comment is apt: "When defeat is imminent, which mother will sacrifice her son politically. The heart of a mother decided to protect her son". Congress took no chances; it did not gamble.
But Rahul had different explanation. He enlightened people that it is not the party but the Party MPs who elect a prime minister. Convinced? ***