Modi Down, Corporate-Media Turns Positive to Rahul Gandhi
All of a sudden, the media has finally started taking Rahul Gandhi seriously. After haunting him, in league with BJP, for almost four years, the masters of the media appear to have become pessimistic about Modi’s ability to enjoy the support of the people as well as market and have started looking towards Rahul. If Modi loses in 2019, after all, they have to keep the most likely replacement in good books. Social media too seems to have undergone a rapid transformation in the last two months. Now the media has started saying what I have been saying for last four years. In this write-up, I will confine myself to quoting from some of my previous articles written between 2014 and 2016.
This was what I wrote in the midst of the election campaign for 2014 elections:
“Modi calls Rahul “Shazada” and himself a “Chaiwala”. But when we examine the two characters, while the “tea-seller” behaves as if he has already become not just the Prime Minister but also the lord of the nation, the “prince” behaves as an obedient Son of the Nation.
Look at Rahul. He is mixing with people including the most deprived: coolies, rickshawalas, artisans, machhyaaras, namak workers, the dalits, and the minorities. And he makes them feel he is one of them. When in Moradabad, a bearded old man calls him “Sir”, he intervenes. He goes close to him, puts his hand on his back and says, “Oh! Don’t call me Sir, Call me Rahul. I feel bad when such a buzurg calls me Sir.” He listens to almost everybody without appearing to be in any sort of hurry even in the packed election schedule, promises them a better life and leaves them as proud citizens of the country.
Look at Modi. Nobody can dream of coming close to him except the chosen few. He comes to the stage pumped up, arrogance oozing from his eyes, his legs, and his tongue. He speaks whatever he likes and more often than not he lies, calls a Union Minister and a former Chief Minister the agents of Pakistan and vomits venom against whoever happens to challenge him. There is hardly a hint of his so-called humble background.
Look at the media. It has been projecting Modi as Prime-Minister in waiting for months. His diatribes are taken lightly. His arrogance is never debated. He is projected as the unassailable leader of the masses. He has already been turned into a kind of demigod. On the other hand, Rahul is presented as a non-entity, one who is “no match” for him. His sophistication, his honesty, and his humility are of no meaning for the media.
Modi already views himself above BJP, in fact, the whole Sangh Parivar. If RSS and BJP are supporting him, it is only because they want to cash in on his support among Hindus. Rahul Gandhi too is a rebel within Congress. He is trying to change the Congress culture against all odds. The seniors in Congress too do not feel comfortable with his rise. …. . The opinion polls show Rahul as the second most popular leader after Modi; and if the percentage of those liking Man Mohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are added to his tally, the gap between Modi and Rahul is not as high as it appears on the first look
The media fails to see the blatant lies Modi and his team are propagating day and night: about the Gujarat Model, about the opposition leaders, and about the political parties. But the truth remains that he has only established himself as a rabble-rouser who uses rhetoric as well as the jest to amuse people. Rahul, on the other hand, can be seen emerging as a sophisticated leader who even in anger does not lose control. Opposed to Modi who represents love for few, Rahul represents love for all. Only time will tell whose popularity will prove to be more lasting and more meaningful.”
In another article I wrote:
“His recent much-publicized Surgical Strikes on the borders and Black Money have proved a disaster. Both have failed to bring the desired results for the country as well as for the Prime Minister. Chinks are already appearing in the Hindutva lobby with Shiv Sena and VHP showing clear signs of dissent.
Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, is definitely in much better position. When I released my approach paper, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination and Roadmap” about 4 years back and sent its synopsis to various political leaders, I got a call from Rahul Gandhi’s office and my appointment was fixed with him two days later. Before meeting him, my image of him was no better than what was being projected in the media – an immature and reluctant son of the most powerful political family of the country. But once I met him, there was a complete metamorphosis of my view of him. I started presenting him the major points I highlighted in my document, first on the common national issues and then the issues related to the Muslim community. He kept asking questions and clarifications in between. I loved his frankness, his sobriety and his keenness to understand and analyze things. I hate political leaders who try to over impose their predetermined positions. When I was about to part after about a 45-minute discussion, he asked me, “Tell me one thing which you will like to be focused on”. I said: “I would love if you pursue a people-friendly rather than corporate-friendly approach and I would like to assert that Indian Muslims are part of the people.”
The BJP and its corporate friends in the media had embarked upon a strategy to target Rahul Gandhi instead of Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of UPA Government, and Sonia Gandhi, President of Congress. They knew that the future of the party lay in Rahul. It was he rather than the two who was blamed for the loss of Congress despite the fact that the poll is always considered a verdict on the ruling government, its Prime Minister and the President of the ruling party. This was a well-calculated move and Congress itself fell to their plan. The senior leaders were reluctant about Rahul. When he tore the copy of the Ordinance, instead of projecting him as a young leader who did not even care of his own party bosses when it came to the question of honesty and justice, he was presented as an immature leader. And since then the media has continued to keep the momentum despite the fact that it is none other than him who has been taking Modi head-on on every important issue and has consciously taken a lead in the issues related to the poor and farmers.
But his people-friendly rather than corporate-friendly approach is what irks the media and the corporate. What I find in him the most important sign of true maturity is the sign of “Immaturity” for the corporate. He will become “mature” for them as soon as he starts saying things that favor them or when he appears to be coming close to power. For me, a true leader has to be sincere, suave and polished rather than one indulging in melodramatics. And if he is sincerely concerned for the masses irrespective of their identities, he is a real asset for the country. I find these qualities in plenty in him.
What Rahul Gandhi needs to work on is to translate his people-friendly approach into a socio-political movement. He is already focusing on Economic Disparity and he needs to turn this into an issue that would ultimately unite the nation for a truly genuine cause. If inequalities galore, democracy is of no meaning. A true democracy should bring real changes in the lives of the people and not merely in the lives of one percent. He played an important role in many important achievements of UPA like Food Security Bill, RTI and Land Ordnance Act. He has continued to focus on the issues of farmers and common people. He needs to convert these issues into political assets. The divisive politics of BJP and the theatrics of Modi are sure to give him a chance to cement the people of the country, Regional and other secular parties will not hesitate to support him….”
In another article I wrote:
“Congress seems to have totally lost its direction. The dilemma of leadership remains unresolved. The interesting part is that the media, the experts as well as some Congressmen seem to hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for what is happening. The truth, on the other hand, is that he is least responsible, and if he is being singled out by the corporate-driven media, it is simply because they want to destroy the future of Congress. Rahul Gandhi is not being given credit for what he richly deserves and is being discredited for the failures of others. He has played a positive role in so many projects that anyone else could have become a hero even if he has taken the cause of any one of them. He played an important role in RTI, almost singlehandedly pushed the Land Ordinance Act, his support to Food Security Act was crucial, made sure that Lok Pal Bill was passed in time and his act of tearing the ordinance was an act that could have under normal circumstances transformed him into a hero overnight. Nobody doubts his intentions and straightforwardness. He is not blamed for being the Chair but for being reluctant to accept it. There is no doubt about his secular credentials. Still, he continues to be portrayed negatively in the media, and the chief reason for this is that he has shown no interest in the corporate-driven agenda in recent times. Convinced that he is no friend of them, and is always looking for people-friendly schemes, they are in no mood to let him influence the direction of the socio-economic policy of the country. The recent Jayantirajan statement has also confirmed how much concerned he remains for the environment, Adivasis and the poor, and that he does not care a wee bit of how few corporates react.
If Congress has to revive, it will have to have a single source of power without delay. You cannot have three centres of power and another one waiting. Akhilesh Yadav cannot emerge as national leader till Mulama Singh Yadav is President of the party. Anyone else cannot hope to lead BJP till Modi is there. Congress will have to take a decision sooner than later. Either they should install Rahul Gandhi as President or they should abandon resting hopes in him. Straight and simple.
Rahul Gandhi will have to take the tough decision himself. He should either resign from all party posts concentrating on popular campaigns or should ask an undiluted power. He will have to lead from the front rather than from behind. His vision and actions must be seen by all as his, and he should openly disown the failures of others. He should make sure that he unfolds his economic agenda for the people fast, and must start mobilizing the people in its favor without any delay. Hoping to beat BJP only on Communal Agenda will backfire. The most effective antidote of Communalism is the People-friendly socio-economic agenda.
If the party does not act now, it will be all over for it.”
Lastly an excerpt from yet another article:
”Almost the whole day, national TV kept the viewers glued with scenes of jubilation on the streets of Amethi when Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by mother Sonia and sister Priyanka, arrived to file his nomination papers. It was the flood of the people that thronged to have a glimpse of him and a heavy downpour of flower petals that colored his caravan. It was surely the biggest show of strength till now that made the great Sonia and Modi shows look smaller. When asked about his “personal remark” against Modi, he clarified that he did not believe in personal attacks and referred only to a legal lacuna in the affidavits.
His interview telecast on Aaj Tak and Headlines Today was a pleasant departure from the interview that Times Now did a few months back. Javed Ansari proved to be a much more accomplished interviewer than Arnab Goswami. Goswami seemed to be predetermined to show Gandhi in bad light. He asked questions that had little if anything to do with Gandhi and prevented him from spelling his vision of India. Ansari did just the opposite. He asked tough questions but these were related to Gandhi and not his forefathers. As a perfect interviewer, he allowed the viewers to have a glimpse of the real Rahul: straightforward, full of vision, people loving, sober, yet confident. He succeeded in presenting himself as one who cares for business but not at the cost of the people. I loved his remarks especially because it was very close to my line of thinking on business. The support to business and the support to a few chosen businessmen are two different things. Supporting business means supporting not only the interests of the businessmen but also the interests of the consumers and to ensure that growth does not accentuate economic disparity. He took the fight straight to Modi when he told how land after land was sold to a “particular person” at a throwaway price.
The brightest point in his interview was that he was able to draw a link between communal amity and development. “The country will stop developing”, he argued, “if communal harmony is disturbed in the country.”
* Author is India based thinker and writer and Head of Chair in Islamic Studies & research, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map” and “Qur’anic Paradigms of Sciences & Society” (First Vol: Health), “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. Read more about him at http://www.worldmuslimpedia.com/dr-javed-jamil. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/javedjamil2015; also HTTP://javedjamil.blogspot.in/. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.