Where is Rahul Gandhi when you need him the most? Well, it could be a smart ploy

We seek him here
We seek him there
We seek him everywhere
Oh where is he, that elusive Scarlet Pimpernel.

Look at it this way. India can carry on happily even if Rahul Gandhi is vacationing in London. After all, a man on the go, rescuing the nation from peril day after desperate day needs a coffee break. All that dashing about is tiring.

Thing is that he had practically predicted that India under Modi was about to ‘go under’ and that this man-made disaster, called the BJP, would destroy the nation around the year end. So why is he not around to hold our hands (in a nice way) and lead us to safety?

By that very token, with the election fever rising in key states and demonetisation crossing the 50-day mark, one would think he’d be here leading the Opposition to new frontiers and invading the Modi citadel with his piercingly vivid remarks.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

This is not the first time he has done this. In April last year, he did a Houdini for six weeks during Parliament session. In 2013, he had been hauled over the coals for being ‘elsewhere’ when the nation was dealing with the flood hit Uttarkhand tragedy. It is not so much the taking off when he should actually be here after having stirred the pot and spread the doom and gloom as it is the lack of transparency. Where does he go?

No one really knows. His supporters hemmed and hawed in profound embarrassment last year and it was comical in the extreme.

This year you can have your pick. He is in London. Off to Columbia. Has cut short his visit and rushed to Bengaluru to express anguish over the molestations.He is back. Coming tomorrow. next week. Like Puss in Boots, gone to meet the Queen. He is in Delhi but in seclusion as he plots his next move.

Before we nail him to the wall though, it is worth considering that these vanishing acts might well be a clever ploy. Because whenever he does this his exposure doubles and he get so much more TV time newsprint space and attention. Around February-March last year, when he trotted off on his south Asian jaunt and everyone was getting into a tizzy, more was written about him and spoken through media with a 100 percent spike.

Remember the fuss and bother about the Charlie Rose conference in the USA in September last year and how the BJP made so much about it because it kind of coincided with the Modi trip to the States. With all the negative stuff thrown at him these departures could well be designed to ginger up the public image and generate more truism from the adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Everyone gets off his back, the critics are eclipsed by the mystery and the guessing games and Rahul is back on the front page. This little trick affords him a dimension he otherwise lacks. The fact is we all do generally fall for it. The government says he is derelict in his duty. His party builds him into some grandiloquent statesman on a mission of great secrecy. The media flips flops around in turn calling him names and still waiting for him to return like Caesar into Rome.

So, is he Caesar or merely a vice-president of a party with not even ten percent representation? Why this fascination with a man who merely whips up a frenzy and then lets other people clean up the mess? If truth be told, the AIDMK has more presence at the Centre! The rainman who leaves a muddy trail with media squelching after him.

But the Gandhi name endures and wit every such disappearance he gets a second life, another shot at the coconut. Even the BJP is not immune to it and in the immortal words of Shobhaa De; all publicity is good publicity…what if he is smarter than we think.

Updated Date: Jan 05, 2017 18:23 PM

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