Friday, September 27, 2013

Ordinance on Convicted Representatives: My Take on Rahul Gandhi's Statement


It is not often that the members of Congress party’s first family interact with media. Media also has accepted that it is perfectly fine. One does not hear ‘Nation wants to know’ type questions thrown at Gandhi family members. If and when they interact, it is with so much preparation and so selectively done.

Therefore, it came as a surprise when media reported that, today, Rahul Gandhi walked into an official Press briefing of AICC and made some suo moto comments on the Draft Ordinance on protecting membership of convicted representatives. Nobody in the Media would have expected him to come out and make a strong statement against his Party’s own government. He said, "My personal opinion about the ordinance on lawmakers is that it is complete nonsense, it should be torn and thrown away. I personally think that whatever the government is doing on this ordinance is wrong” (as reported by http://indiatoday.intoday.in)

Well, my personal opinion perfectly matches Rahul’s version. However, there is a difference. I am an individual with an opinion on so many things, but they are personal and accountable to no one. Rahul Gandhi is the Vice President of the Party that heads the Government and the cabinet that approved the Draft Ordinance in question. He is also the heir apparent and future Prime Minister, if we go by the words of even the present PM. More importantly, he represents the first family of Congress that holds the exclusive right, to the last word in Congress.

Expectedly, what followed was Ajay Maken’s official statement that said, "Rahul Gandhi has put forth his views on the ordinance. Rahul Gandhi's position on the ordinance is the Congress' position. Rahul has taken this step on high moral and principle ground.” It should have been known to Rahul that when he speaks, it becomes official version of the Congress Party.

That leaves his party’s Prime Minister and the Cabinet that that approved the draft resolution with a lot of rotten egg on their face. That too when Prime Minister is on a foreign tour, meeting and interacting with world leaders. The statement also leaves Rahul Gandhi himself looking immature and unpolished. There was no need for such a brazen behavior. There was a much better way to do this.

The President of India has sought clarifications on the Ordinance from the concerned ministers. The President’s refusal to sign should have been taken as an indication and Rahul Gandhi could have given a statement, as follows:

Congress Party has taken note that the President of India has expressed some concerns and sought some clarifications on the Ordinance. We have also received feedback, expressing outrage on the proposed Ordinance, from the public and party workers. While the Ordinance was brought with a limited purpose, to bring a clause passed by our own Parliament and subsequently held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, back into force as we in the Party and Government considered it the right thing to do. However, considering the outrage from various quarters, Congress Party and I personally, request the Prime Minister and Cabinet to reconsider the draft of the Ordinance. We believe, in a democracy the public opinion must be given utmost importance and, therefore, I am sure PM and Cabinet will be happy to reconsider the Ordinance.

We also realize that while it may be unfair to the persons who are convicted but the conviction is stayed by the court of appeal, to unseat them before appeal if decided, such an Ordinance will be seen as endorsement of criminals in politics. Even such a perception will not be in the interest of our democracy. “If you want to fight corruption in the country whether it is Congress party or BJP, we cannot continue making these small compromises. Because if we make these small compromises, then we compromise everywhere”.


But alas…it was not to be! A thing that could have been done with utmost finesse and √©lan was reduced to such an unacceptable level. In public life, especially when you are being projected as the future Prime Minister of this country, not just what you say, but how you say it also assumes lot of importance.