Rahul Gandhi’s Speech in Parliament in Its Perspective — Dr Mehnaz Najmi


Rahul Gandhi speaking in Parliament. — ANI

Rahul was expected to be the flag bearer of democracy and secularism while delivering his speech but unfortunately he too succumbed to the pressures of vote bank politics.

Dr MEHNAZ NAJMI | Caravan Daily

RAHUL GANDHI as a leader is born, many exclaimed, while he gave much coveted speech in the Parliament, supporting the no-confidence motion brought by Telugu Desham Party. Most often than not it is said that he is a reluctant politician, who by virtue of being a Gandhi has reached to the helm of Congress party’s affairs.

The persona of Rahul Gandhi can be analyzed in two ways: As a leader of Indians, which he claims and as a leader of Muslims, which BJP claims. BJP quoted an Urdu newspaper where he said that Congress is a party of Muslims, which Rahul categorically denied. Such denial indicates his ambitions to become a leader of majority, which does not seem to be easy as of now. On one hand BJP claims that he is no threat but on the other he is put under scanner, memes are made on him and media is fighting a war against him. I see him as somebody who has stood as a challenge to the overtly hyped and popular Prime Minister Modi, which is something positive for Indian democracy.

Once I was discussing the rise of Rahul in Congress with a friend and said, a lot of qualified and much better lot of politicians is there in Congress but why is he being promoted as a national leader? Is it not wrong and unjustified? Friend replied, if not Gandhi then whom? He is somebody who has the capability of creating mass hysteria. People come out in large numbers to have a look of him as he belongs to that elite clan. They see him with hope, as his family has ruled the country for almost sixty years. Congress may not be in power but they will make a comeback as always.

The discussion with my friend was informal but it does indicate few important points about our political system and thought process of voters. The first and foremost is that Indians do not vote for a candidate’s honesty/integrity but on his/her family background, affiliations, religion, caste, political party, personality and paid media created hype. All the debates on TV or editorials in newspapers are suggesting that the 2019 election is all about BJP VS Congress. All other regional parties and other parties are being ignored by them as if they do not exist or there is a dearth of leaders in India.

Telugu Desham Party leader Jaydev Galla initiated the no-confidence motion with zestful and fiery speech, picking each and every word carefully, was beyond word impressive. Rahul Gandhi, who claimed that an earthquake will come after his speech in Parliament, somehow disappointed me for two reasons, apart from his bad oratory skills, one he avoided using the word Muslim as he quoted Dalits, Minorities and Adivasis again and again, secondly, instead of strongly attacking Prime Minister on his stoic silence on mob lynching and rise in hatred among communities, he dwelled on personal issues.

Avoiding the usage of the word ‘Muslim’ he has only proved Modi and BJP right that Congress is into appeasement politics. Had it not been politics of appeasement and he being honest about his commitment towards all Indians irrespective of their religion, there is no point behaving in such biased manner. It seems he deliberately avoided use of the M word to play the same majoritarian politics, which BJP is into. Without naming the community he said “every day or other one Indian is killed by mob”. Despite the fact that ‘killed Indian’ in 90% cases is a Muslim in the name of cow. It will be interesting to see the manifesto of Congress before 2019 elections as they too are trying hard to be the claimants of majoritarian vote bank by declaring themselves Janeudhari and Parshu Ram k Vanshaj.

Ironically, he gave more importance to the issues which are not even qualified to be political issues like responding to the BJPs allegation of Congress having innate hatred towards poor Chai wala or Modi being a poor man becoming the Prime Minister. He even went on to the extent of saying that Modi can’t look into my eyes and later on became a butt of jokes by the Prime Minister.

What was the point of speaking about his personal equation or his feeling towards the Prime Minister? Whether the Congress party agrees to it or not BJP is here in power and Modi is our Prime Minister. Their acceptance hardly matters and puts them into a very defensive mode. Anyways, coming back to the debate, it was a scene of an unruly where Prime Minister Modi and leader of opposition Rahul Gandhi put allegations at each other, mimicking, passing personal remarks by completely ignoring the Parliamentary decorum. Even the Speaker of Parliament played sides as openly supporting the ruling party.

Rahul Gandhi, after completing his speech, went up and hugged the Prime Minister declaring it as a mark of Ahimsa and Congress ethos. He winked after reaching to his seat as if his mission of embarrassing Modi is accomplished. The wink became controversial as the Speaker raised an objection on his behaviour and for not maintaining the decorum of Parliament. Wink may not be an issue but the way he dealt with the serious issues, his body language and mannerism after the speech puts question mark on his integrity and credibility as national leader. No where do I intend to say that the speech should be about the Muslims or he should have spoken about Muslims at large.

The whole point of debate is the very word “Democracy” and “Secularism” which Congress proudly claims to be their contribution towards Indian politics. Secularism is about allowing people to live the way they want, without any discrimination or restrictions. Nation should flourish along with its citizens and hatred should be minimized. I expected him to be the flag bearer of democracy and secularism but unfortunately he too succumbed to the pressures of vote bank politics.

The debate was disheartening to watch as both of them tried weaving cheap thrills to propose themselves as better contender in the race of 2019. The political scenario of India reminds me of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. In a tussle between the powerful, working class is being grinded and instead of being reactive they are busy taking sides of the rulers.

The joy and celebration of Muslim community after Rahul Gandhi’s speech is beyond my limited understanding. What are they happy for? For being ignored by their own Messiah as they tend to be loyal vote banks of Congress or they had this sadist pleasure that somebody is questioning the Prime Minister. It is a sad reality that Muslims as a community have been sidelined by all major parties be it Congress or BJP or Communist parties.

It has always been the regional parties who have given them the voice, articulated their demands and raised their issues but due to the herd mentality, influence of religious heads and aversion to think in a progressive manner Muslims are badly stuck in the web woven by the Congress. The party hardly did anything for them in last 60 years, is responsible for their plight, backward conditions and now has publicly disowned them through this speech. It is high time for Muslims to think about their future and their political choices like Dalits.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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