EDITORIAL : Selective memory of Sonia Gandhi
NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - Has Sonia Gandhi had a convenient, decade long brain fade? When filing her nomination papers for the upcoming election from Rae Bareli a few days back the UPA chairperson and former Congress president had (she handed over that throne to her son) happily recalled the 2004 election.
She was making the point that today Mr Narendra Modi was far from invincible, and chose to flash back to how she and Dr Manmohan Singh had rubbished the “shining India” image that had been built around the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Fair enough, every politician is entitled to a selective memory. “Not at all, not at all. Don’t forget 2004”, was how she responded to a reporter’s query.
“In 2004 Vajpayee was also considered invincible but we won”. Was it not telling that Mrs Gandhi chose not to talk about the 10 years when she wielded as much clout ~ if not more ~ than her Prime Minister with whom she had jointly led the United Progressive Alliance to a drubbing from which Rahul and the old, but not so grand, party is hard-pressed to recover.
There is an unexplained similarity to Rahul and Sonia’s opting against highlighting the achievements of 2004- 2014: do they concede they have little about which the UPA can brag? The alliance is in tatters, Mayawati and Akhilesh avoid it like the plague, and even after relations with the BJP crumbled the TDP maintains its distance from the Congress. The tie up with the DMK is as much a marriage of convenience as the rocky links with the JS (S) in Karnataka, even in the North-east the Congress counts for little.
The arrogance of its local and national leaders is best exemplified in the failure to work out a seatsharing agreement for the seven MPs the NCT sends to the Lok Sabha. Good governance is more than coalition management. And the Sonia-Manmohan combine failed miserably on that score too.
Though ministers like P Chidambaram might claim economic success (as Arun Jaitley does presently) the business community was never so enthused as to hold back from Modi-adulation), then there are the scams in the allocation of coal blocks, 2G Spectrum, not to mention the unbridled loot during the Commonwealth Games of 2010.
And as Jet Airways grinds to a halt the ruination of Air-India and Indian Airlines, inevitably, come to mind. Even on Rahul’s pet theory of corruption in the Rafale deal it is to be noted that had Manmohan and Antony not been plagued by policy-paralysis the French warplanes would have been sporting the IAF roundel by now.
Back to brain-fades and selective memory: Rahul needs to learn that even during his father’s regime the Ambanis enjoyed MFN status in the corporate world ~ they did not have to hanker after crumbs like off-sets.