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Advantage BJP?

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The contretemps between the ruling BJP and Congress-led opposition continues in Parliament and their respective stances are only hardening. While the Congress is insisting on a JPC being formed on the Hindenburg-Adani issue, there is little forward movement because the ruling party is stalling parliamentary proceedings demanding an apology for Rahul Gandhi’s ‘anti-India’ statements abroad. The opposition could have had a field day in Parliament had it not been for the trump card handed to the BJP by the Gandhi scion. So, ironically, it is those from the Treasury Benches creating the ruckus leading to adjournment of both Houses.

It seems like, at the present, Rahul Gandhi has painted himself into a corner. He may seek to present the goings-on as an example of the way in which the opposition is being suppressed in India, but that would amount to an admission he criticised India abroad. Right now, the party’s official position is that he did not do so. It is a contradiction that will be difficult to reconcile, despite the prompts from those with a better way with words.

The BJP’s ongoing efforts are designed to depict Rahul Gandhi as a member of the ‘tool-kit gang’ and a proxy for anti-India forces such as those allegedly financed by George Soros. The Congress under Rahul has certainly deviated considerably from the centrist policies of Manmohan Singh and is committed almost entirely to the leftist view of things. The contempt for those who generate wealth is more than evident, which promises to stifle economic growth should the developing opposition confederation come to power.

Another common factor is the dynastic nature of the parties backing the Congress at the present. They may ostensibly represent egalitarian and regional interests but are basically run as family businesses. So, the lines will become more clearly delineated as time moves on.

The BJP will have to play the game carefully in the effort to paint Rahul Gandhi as a tool in the hands of foreign forces. It has to be ensured that he does not come to be seen as a ‘victim’ of high-handedness. This would require him being given the required space to continue scoring self-goals. At the same time, the government should not be seen as having compromised on India’s sovereignty and prestige. Every day, nuanced attacks are being made on the Congress leader by ministers and party apparatchiks and the public response will determine which line to take. Should his membership of the Lok Sabha be suspended, or should he be allowed to have his say in Parliament, which despite all the coaching is bound to cause him further embarrassment? Overall, it is advantage BJP – it has to decide what comes next.