Rahul Gandhi’s missed opportunity
Posted August 28, 2011on:
Rahul Gandhi’s first major speech in Lok Sabha on Jan Lokpal Bill was a disappointment. The AICC general secretary, who is touted by his party men as the next Congress president and Prime Minister, missed the opportunity of putting before the House a definitive programme of action to tackle the corruption which he himself admitted “is pervasive”. All he came out with was an anthology of some stray suggestions made repeatedly by many people inside the Parliament and outside over the past decades. In all respects, it appeared a populist speech by a mediocre politician.
Rahul Gandhi seemed confused also. In the past few years, he said, he had travelled the length and breadth of the country, met “scores of countrymen, rich and poor, old and young, privileged and disempowered who have expressed their disillusionment to me.”
He then added: “Annaji has helped the people to articulate this same sentiment. I thank him for that.” But a few minutes later the perceived future Prime Minister says: “However, individual dictates, no matter how well intentioned, must not weaken the democratic process.” How come that Annaji deserves thanks for helping the people to articulate the sentiments which Rahul Gandhi had heard from various sections of people in the past few years but Annaji is also weakening the democratic process? Where did Rahul Gandhi want Annaji to stop?
Rahul Gandhi says, very truly, that the corruption cannot be wished away by the mere desire. This requires, he adds, a comprehensive framework of action and a concerted political program supported by all levels of the state from the highest to the lowest. Most importantly, it requires firm political will. Then he enumerates what is needed to eradicate corruption, like election reforms, transparency in public procurement (why not the whole gamut of the government?), grievance redress mechanism, et cetera.
Who does Rahul Gandhi expect to bring forward necessary legislations in respect of these fields? Sushma Swaraj? Lalu Yadav? Sharad Yadav?
The UPA government is led by the Congress. By virtue of his ancestry, Rahul Gandhi is in a position to persuade the government to act. He should have come out with the unequivocal statement that he expected the government to present the legislations which he considers necessary for redressing the people’s grievances, in the present session of the House.
But taking such a stand required political honesty and will power!