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Grudging Admission


Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s statement that good work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be praised set off a flutter in political circles. He has received support from party colleagues Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shashi Tharoor, who would like policies to be targeted rather than the person. This is clearly a departure from the Modi-centric attacks by Rahul Gandhi when he led the campaign in the last General Elections, describing the Chowkidar as a Chor and so on.
Ramesh acknowledges that the work done by Modi during his first tenure won him the support of the people and thus dumps the favourite excuse of EVMs being rigged, which many losers have used to console themselves. This is an acknowledgement of the existing political reality and a reorientation within the major opposition party that, while pursuing political goals, India’s interests are above all else. Or, it could just be the waving of a hopeful white flag in the face of the relentless manner in which the likes of P Chidambaram have been pursued!
It may be noted that, following the abrogation of Article 370, Pakistani propaganda – beyond the usual ‘Ghazwa e Hind’ and ‘all Hindus are duplicitous’ rants – has used the statements of Indian opposition leaders to bolster its case. Many such leaders have gone overboard in their criticism of Modi, which is why Imran Khan felt confident in using terms such as Nazis, Hindu fascists, genocide, etc., in his criticism of India. Mainstream politicians became indistinguishable from the ‘tukde tukde’ gang that has a hate party going with the BJP. Those who praised AB Vajpayee for his moderation while in power and in opposition, did not display the same grace when in a similar position.
Some are also interpreting the change of attitude as an expression of disillusionment in the Congress with the dynasty’s approach. The Indian people have changed and the younger generation, in particular, no longer has the traditional veneration for the Nehru-Gandhi name. They idolise achievers, those who have risen from common beginnings to the pinnacles of success.
It is also not a surprise that the changed approach has come from the ‘intellectuals’ among the Congress leadership – those who can debate intelligently in parliament and marshal facts in support of their cause. The foot soldiers of the party must now sync themselves with this new realism and, putting the nation first, must reorient their politics if they wish to remain relevant. They must focus on the issues, not persons, just as Tharoor has said.