Waiting is the number one national pastime. We patiently wait in line, at the bus stop, on hold with Airtel, for the bijli to come back… We are used to it, we’re very good at it. So is our largest national party which has been patiently awaiting its prince.
“The fact is that he is undoubtedly and unquestionably the number two leader in the party. Yet he has not taken up the mantle or accepted a functional responsibility. He is so far not willing to accept the number two position. In such a situation, we have to wait. This is a waiting time,” Salman Khurshid told the Indian Express. Good things come to those who wait, in this case, Rahul Gandhi whose tryst with greatness has been hotly anticipated for, oh , about six years.
Now it seems we will have to wait some more. “Cong signals Rahul ‘wait’ to continue,” reads The Telegraph headline of a story scotching hopeful rumours that he may deign to become either the Prime minister or Congress party president (as in, same job, different title). And that means we’re back to wondering what, oh what will our young Rahul do while we’re waiting.
Discovered India? Dined with dalits? Flubbed a big speech in Parliament? Lost a major state election? Done, done, done, and done.
“We are completely convinced that Rahul should become a cabinet minister and deliver good governance. He wanted to fight it out in the Uttar Pradesh election and that chapter is closed now. He should join the government,” an unnamed Congress chief minister tells The Telegraph – echoing the helpful suggestion of our Foreign Minister SM Krishna.
Now that the boy has proved to be first a lousy intern, then a bad middle manager, the logical next step is surely to make him Executive Vice President. Failing upwards is inevitable when you’re the anointed heir to a family business. Besides, unlike his father, Rahul can’t be promoted directly from General Secretary to Prime Minister – not without a national tragedy to justify the dizzying jump.
It’s likely the reason why Sonia too is “inclined to make him a minister to let him get a feel of the system.” Time to take off those trainer wheels and send the kid off on a spin around the block, so to speak. Maybe we can start him out small? Perish the thought! According to the insider scuttle, only the top cabinet berths will do for our Rahul:
Sources said the dominant view in the Congress was that the government needed a full-fledged finance minister and leaving this additional burden on the Prime Minister’s shoulders would be politically unwise.
Although there are many claimants for the post, the Congress feels P. Chidambaram’s stints in the finance ministry could make him the most suitable choice. That would leave the home ministry vacant. Even the foreign ministry could have a vacancy as Krishna’s possible exit is being loudly talked about in party circles.
Home Minister Rahul Gandhi! That does have a nice ring to it – but also all-too-real, tiresome responsibility. No wonder he prefers to stick to amorphous duties like “rebuilding” the party. Fail at that and you only piss off your own minions. And Mother can always take care of them.
So we’re back to “waiting time.” The nation: distracted. The party: anxious. Sonia: silent. Rahul, as always, reluctant.
But as a Reuters profile of the scion notes, all this petulance matters little: “Rahul… may understandably be reluctant to take his spot in this pantheon, but his destiny and duty, his dharma, is written, as far as Congress is concerned. ‘It’s not a question of whether he will perform or has the ability. He will come on board,’ a senior Congress party insider said.”
Who cares, indeed, about performance, ability, and desire – or lack thereof – when it is ordained by the gods and, well, Mama, as per those leaked US cables:
In an October 11, 2006 meeting, “Sonia Gandhi confidant” Rashid Alvi insisted that “despite his lack of public appeal and political skills,” Mrs Gandhi will install her son as Prime Minister. “Alvi pointed out that Rahul’s ascension to the Gandhi family seat is not imminent, as it will ‘take time’ for him to be made ready, but there is no doubt that the party’s fortunes are inextricably tied to the young man’s presumed strengths and unexplored weaknesses.”
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.