Rahul Gandhi should immediately learn to hop around on one foot till he has his destined tryst with political destiny.
Seriously, how long can a guy survive in politics when he has one of his two feet always in the mouth? How can he be taken seriously when none of his statements in politics spanning more than a decade is accepted without being ridiculed or laughed it?
With the kind of serial gaffes he has on his CV, it is suspected that Jawaharlal Nehru's great grandson, Indira Gandhi's grandson and Rajeev Gandhi's shehzada is in politics only to keep the ridicule flowing and undermine his own cause. On current evidence, like a pugilist facing a mirror, Rahul seems to be fighting with himself, delivering one killer blow after the other till there is a knock out.
"Jinhone Hindustan ke liye surgical strike kiye hain, unke khoon ke peeche aap chhupe hain. Unki aap dalali kar rahe ho." (You are hiding behind the blood of soldiers who carried out the surgical strikes for India. You are exploiting their sacrifices), Rahul said at a meeting in Delhi on Thursday, attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dalali, Rahul? Let's hope he knows the meaning of the word. Hopefully the person who gave him these filmi lines
explained the exact meaning of these words to Rahul. A dalal of soldiers is someone who is in the marketplace to profit from their sacrifices. How has India's PM acted like a dalal after the surgical strikes on Pakistan? Had he publicly thumped his chest for ordering punitive action, proclaimed it as victory over Pakistan and then sought votes for his bravado, maybe Rahul's words would have been justified. But, Modi has acted with remarkable restraint, asking loudmouths in the government to zip up and eschew jingoism to avoid escalation, suggesting discretion is the better part of retribution. What made Rahul use such derogatory words for the PM? Maybe it is his characteristic wish to invite ridicule.
Yes, it is despicable when BJP workers seek votes in the name of the Indian Army's achievements. It is deplorable to see BJP workers put up posters, banners and hoardings to claim credit for teaching a lesson to India's arch enemy, just as they had sought votes in the name of Ram, Hindutva and cow in the past. But, to blame the PM of India for the enthusiasm of his supporters is unjustified.
The bigger worry is that Rahul's asinine outbursts are becoming part of a trend. Several times in the past, Rahul has shown a harakirous ability to contradict optimism that with age, like wine, he will mature as a politician. Unfortunately, he has negated it with a penchant for malapropisms every time he gets the opportunity to speak in front of a large gathering, underlining the need for a sagacious speechwriter and effective teleprompter.
Soon after the Army announced surgical strikes along LoC, Rahul had praised Modi's leadership, extending his support and the party's cooperation. Having made his stance clear, Rahul should have stuck to it, evincing maturity and strategic restraint. But, he unnecessarily dragged himself to the centre of controversy by the scruff of the neck with his below-the-belt remark, when all he needed to do was talk about his partially successful kissan yatra in Uttar Pradesh, highlight grievances of farmers.
Smart politicians learns from mistakes, their own and those of contemporaries and colleagues. They understand the value of subtlety of language, nuanced criticism and measured words in public life. They know that use of crude, dramatic street language could be counterproductive.
A few years ago, Sonia Gandhi had called Modi a 'maut ka saudagar' (Is Kader Khan writing Congress speeches?) in
Gujarat and paid an electoral price for it. Dalal, Rahul should have known, is a rung lower than saudagar on the insult hierarchy and could lead to proportionately higher damage to his party. Yet, he went ahead and contributed a third-rate jumla that would haunt him forever.
PS: I started out this piece by suggesting Rahul learn to hop around on one foot. Since this seems difficult, let me share with him the immortal words of Pankaj Kapoor in Maqbool: Gillori khao, Mian, zubaan kaboo mein rehti hai. (Chew betel leaves, it keeps words under control).