The Congress is India's oldest party and has known some great leaders in the past. And though the party has many deep flaws, one expects the Congress, more than others, to maintain some decency and decorum. Unfortunately, the current face of the party, Rahul Gandhi, seems intent on destroying whatever is left of the party's image with his increasingly low level of politics. While criticising political opponents is only to be expected, what is disgraceful is that the Gandhi scion has been resorting to blatant lies in order to show the BJP and Narendra Modi in a poor light.
Let's consider the most recent cases of his deliberate lies, which were exposed immediately by media and others.
First, when the Delhi high court dismissed the petition of Rahul Gandhi and co in the National Herald case, Rahul Gandhi immediately alleged that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) was engaging in vendetta politics. What Rahul perhaps forgot was that he was accusing the Delhi high court of functioning under the influence of the PMO, an allegation that can be construed as contempt of court. Despite his ill thought out comments, one can still give benefit of doubt to Gandhi given his political immaturity and frustration at being defeated on a prestige issue in court.
People can tolerate inexperienced and even immature politicians, but will they accept a habitual liar?
But soon after, in two separate incidents, Rahul revealed his true colours in a way that could not be explained away as mere poor judgement (although that too was abundantly evident).
On 14 December, Rahul claimed that RSS members prevented him from entering Barpeta Satra, a 16th-century holy site in Assam. Before he could rack up any sympathy points, Rahul's lies were immediately exposed by the local media, which had been present at the location, and soon national news covered the story about Rahul's baseless allegations. The head of Barpeta Satra, Basistha Sarma too confirmed that there was no RSS present and said that he along with many men and women were in fact waiting for Rahul Gandhi's visit for hours with excitement. Sharma also expressed regret because the Satra was unnecessarily dragged in to politics. Chandan Sarkar a Congress MLA also told the media that Rahul Gandhi didn't visit the Satra as planned because he hadn't had a bath at that time and didn't have the customary dhoti'. According to him, Rahul Gandhi didn't want to disrespect the Satra; another Congressman, Anjan Dutta, said that Rahul postponed his visit to the Satra because he was running late for a rally as his arrival had been delayed due to inclement weather. Dutta told a press conference: "We were informed that 50,000 people had gathered at the rally venue. So, we decided that we would first go on with the march and enter the Satra on the way back."
Rahul Gandhi, thus, attended the rally without informing the people waiting at Barpeta Satra. When in the evening he dropped in at the holy site, the Congress realised that the people waiting were incensed at being disregarded. That's why the blatant lie was told Rahul Gandhi but unfortunately for him, the facts got the better of him.
Isn't it a gross insult to India when you tell blatant lies about the democratically elected leader of India?
Rahul's tenuous relationship with truth showed further strain when he accused Prime Minister Modi, who was visiting Kerala, of insulting the state's Chief Minister Oommen Chandy by not inviting him to the inauguration of the statue of former Kerala CM R Shankar. Rahul also accused the PM of "insulting the people of Kerala". This lie was also laid bare quickly when the BJP shared a letter in which the CM's office informed that Chandy would be unable to attend the event. It also came to light that the event's organiser, the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, had requested Chandy not to attend the function as there was a chance of demonstration against him. Nowhere is it evident that the Prime Minister had any involvement whatsoever in any of this confusion.
The point is very simple, Rahul Gandhi needs to rethink his brand of cheap politics, especially because he really isn't very good at it. It' anyone guess if he can redeem his reputation in the eyes of the people -- people can tolerate inexperienced and even immature politicians, but will they accept a habitual liar?
And here's something else worth considering. If not inviting the Kerala CM is an insult to all the people of the state, what does it mean when several Congress CMs decide to stay away from an important Niti Aayog meeting under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India? Isn't it a gross insult to all the people of India? Isn't it also a gross insult to India when you tell blatant lies about the democratically elected leader of India?
Mr Rahul Gandhi must understand that playing with public wisdom is always a dangerous game which may cost his party dearly, resulting in a "Congress-mukta Bharat" in the near future. And the blood will be not on the BJP's but the Congress's own hands.
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