TO COMPARE RAHUL GANDHI AND NARENDRA MODI IS ABSURD
N. S. RAJARAM
April 8, 2013
Ramachandra Guha was unusually candid in his views on Rahul Gandhi's performance during his so-called speech which really a soliloquy-- a dialog with himself. Elsewhere I had charactarized it as Hamlet's "To be or not to be..." delivered by Bertie Wooster-- perhaps a bit unkind, but seems to have caught on.
I didn't watch all of it -- it wasn't substantial enough -- but towards the end. But before going further, I have to say that I find any comparison between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi absurd-- as between a total non-achiever and a completely self-made man of impressive accomplishments.
What struck one was Guha's candid comment towards the end of the program that the "country will not be safe in Rahul Gandhi's hands." (For good measure he added that it won't be safe in Narendra Modi's hands either, citing arrogance as the reason, but who was more arrogant than Guha's own hero Nehru, and with less reason.)
Let us for the moment pass over Guha's gratuitous comment about Modi -- after all a person of his record cannot be seen as endorsing Modi -- and look at some of his reasons for opposition to Rahul. To summarize it is the same as everyone else's-- Rahul has never carried through any work to its logical conclusion and at every turn avoided taking the slightest responsibility. This makes him unfit for any office, not just prime minister.
Guha's observation-- "the country will not be safe in his hands" may be truer than what he himself realizes. With my bias, I look at it form a national security point of view (I serve on a few international committees). Here is my reason: if Rahul G becomes PM, the first crisis he will have to deal with will be a major terror attack launched to test his mettle. Is he equal to it?
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT NARENDRA MODI HAD TO DEAL WITH within months of assuming charge as Chief Minister. Modi was an unknown quantity then and the Jihadis saw it as an opportunity to test him by launching an attack on the Godhra pilgrim train.
How did Modi fare? According to the media which tried to shift the blame on to the victims for 'provoking' the attack (ignoring the obvious conspiracy behind it) and the Hindu-baiters calling themselves liberals, Modi failed. This is is a matter of perception: would someone else in his place have done better? After all Modi was not responsible for the riots though he had to deal with the consequences. Would Rahul Gandhi have done better in his place? Let alone Rahul, what did Mahatma Gandhi do when his own Khilafat backfired and resulted in the Moplah Mutiny. He fled from the scene and let the British handle the mess he had created.
Unlike the Mahatma who was the direct cause of the Moplah Rebellion, Modi had nothing to do with the post-Godhra riots, it just landed in his lap. Unlike Gandhi who fled from the scene, Modi stood firm and tried to bring things under control. (For a balanced account based on facts please visit http://folks.co.in/blog/2012/08/17/modi-and-the-mahatma-who-was-more-guilty/)
Apart from assigning blame, the important thing to recognize is that the next prime minister is likely to be tested by terrorists. Also, over the next decade, the greatest challenge will be improving the lives of people in lower rung-- improving their basic living conditions. This means improving the basic infrastructure-- especially, electricity, water and waste management. Here the UPA record is dismal while Gujarat has done much better, no matter what Modi's detractors might say.
So, over the next ten years judge the Government, no matter who is in power by the state of these factors-- and roads, river water management and renewable energy. The UPA has done nothing but offer gimmicks.
In summary, Mr. Guha must be complimented for his brutally candid views whether one agrees with him or not. But he should expect some cynicism as being opportunistic, of trying to dissociate himself from the stinking cesspool that 10 Janpath has become with which rightly or wrongly he has long been associated.