By Parth Gupta
Congress Vice President, or the to be President of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi is on a two-week study tour to the USA. The main motive of this trip was to get the Congress party connected with the Indian diaspora, which the BJP has done very well, especially under Narendra Modi. Gandhi is scheduled to meet Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, think tanks, experts in California, and then travel to DC. However, his first stop was at the University of California, Berkeley where he served as a panellist in the ongoing “India At 70” series.
Did Rahul spark the fire?
The Congress VP talked about various topics, including Indian politics, the agenda of development, how the demonetisation was a failure, the GST and its implementation, and also about Modi’s performance as the PM. Out of all these, there was one exclusive topic which evoked a response from the BJP ministers and spokespersons.
During the interactive question and answer session, Gandhi was asked about ‘dynast politics’ in India. His response was defensive as he said, “That is how India works, and don’t blame me alone.” “Actually most parties in India have that problem. So don’t give us stick because Akhilesh Yadav is a dynast. Stalin is a dynast. (Prem Kumar) Dhumal’s son is a dynast….Even Abhishek Bachchan is a dynast. That is how India runs. Don’t get after me because that is how the entire country is running”, he added.
Evoking a response from the BJP
The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Smriti Irani, came out to call Rahul Gandhi a ‘failed dynast’. “A failed dynast today chose to speak about his failed political journey in the United States of America,” she said. An opposite reaction from the BJP was expected but its scale was surprising.
The event which seemed even more surprising was a response from the bearer of the second highest constitutional post, the Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu. The Vice President, on September 15th, lashed out at dynastic politics, saying that dynasty and democracy cannot go together. Naidu said: “Dynasty is nasty but tasty to some people.” Naidu delivered this address at the event ‘Interaction with the Students’ following the inauguration of exhibition ‘New India- We Resolve to Make’ at Anna University in Chennai.
Thinly veiled political correctness?
“The is a discussion about dynasty. Dynasty and democracy cannot go together. Very simple… it weakens our system. Dynasty in democracy is nasty,” he said. Though he made it clear that he was not referring to any particular party, the fact that this comes within a week after Rahul Gandhi’s statement makes it significantly clear that it was directly against the Congress. This goes to show that the new Vice President still hasn’t been able to forget and leave party politics.
He further elaborated, “But saying that, I do try to sort of change it in the Congress. If you look at the Congress, there is a large number of people who are not from dynastic families at all. I can name them in every state.” He insisted that the real question is whether the person is actually capable. “Is the person a sensitive person? That is the question.” However, this is still received as a political statement, and condemnation of any political leader, whatever the remarks may be, is certainly beneath the Vice President.
Featured Image Source: VisualHunt
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