Rahul Gandhi-RSS show: Congress VP is risking his credibility with repeat U-turns

Had Kapil Sibal represented an aam aadmi named Rahul and not the Congress vice-president in the RSS-Mahatma Gandhi defamation case, the astute lawyer would have kicked his client out of his office and dumped the case outright.
Now that Rahul Gandhi in this case is no common man and second-in-command of the party Sibal belongs to, he could only helplessly watch the flip-flops of his client who made a controversial statement in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

A day after Gandhi, through his lawyer Sibal, said in the Supreme Court that he never blamed RSS but the ‘people associated with it’ for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, thus effectively taking a dramatic U-turn from his earlier heroic statement, Rahul once again performed a somersault on Thursday by saying he stood by his words. "I will never stop fighting the hateful & divisive agenda of the RSS. I stand by every single word I said."

Rahul needs to calm down and make up his mind.

What is his stance on the RSS role in Mahatma’s murder? Does he believe Nathuram Godse acted after he got influenced by the RSS? These questions are relevant only because Rahul happens to be the heir apparent of India’s grand old party. Rahul is also someone who is often touted as a prime ministerial candidate of the Congress party, although nothing of this sort is on paper yet. Rather than that it would hardly matter for anyone what he does or says.


Consider this: If Gandhi “stands by every single word” he said, why in the first place he made his lawyer make a technical excuse in the apex court on Wednesday that he didn’t mean RSS but people associated with the organisation as culprits in Mahatma’s killing.

At a rally in Thane during the 2014 election campaign, Rahul had said, “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji.”

When a political leader rise to address his followers, he must own up each word he utters. It’s not a court room where legal loopholes can win and lose you the case. It is in front of the people where you win or lose their hearts on the principles of trust and confidence. In the first place, Rahul should not have said “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji”, if he wasn’t convinced about what he was saying.

For a listener, Rahul was directly accusing no one but the RSS when he made that statement. In all likelihood, no one would have delved deeper and finally got enlightened that the Congress vice-president was not actually blaming the institution but some people who were "associated" with the RSS. Question is what Rahul achieved with all that jugglery of words. As Firstpost highlighted earlier, it was a good opportunity for the Congress scion to prove his mettle by fighting in the court to prove his point and if necessary go behind bars. He would have emerged stronger and more acceptable in the public perception. But, Rahul pathetically lost that opportunity.

Now as it stands the Congress vice-president might manage to (it appears so) escape trouble in the court room from the defamation case filed by RSS activist Mahadev Kunte. But Rahul's image as a politician and a leader took a irreparable beating when he backtracked from one of the boldest and controversial political statement he ever made in his career.

In the process, Rahul has put himself in a pitiable position with respect to his leadership ability, allowing others to question his personal integrity and his commitment to the thousands of his party followers who defend him in the streets and rallies. He made a fool not only of himself but of all those people who might vote for him in the future.

His outburst on Thursday, which is in direct contrast to what he said in the court on Wednesday through his lawyer, only reflects on his immaturity, lack of political acumen and conviction.

It’s time Gandhi sits back and relax, may be yet another sabbatical is a good idea.

Chanakya sutra says: “Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions – Why am I doing it? What the results might be? And will I be successful? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead."

Before he indulges himself in another flip-flop, Rahul should redeem himself by meditating on Chanakya Sutra.

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Updated Date: Aug 25, 2016 17:55:30 IST

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