The latest kerfuffle on the airwaves has its source in a certain Member of Parliament (MP) from India who has gone abroad to the United Kingdom. It is claimed that this MP's visit was on an invitation basis and not the case of being thrust upon the poor people of Britain. The irony is that there's no connection here with the people who voted for the man of the hour, who goes by the name of Rahul Gandhi.
For those who aren’t familiar with French film – La Dîner de Cons - which was released in 1998, one couldn't help but draw the glaring parallels. The movie is the story of powerful people competing against each other to find out who has discovered the biggest fool. For those who are more familiar with Hollywood, they would remember the English remake of the movie ‘Dinner for Schmucks’. As a movie buff the similarities are too apparent to be missed. In fact, I am pleasantly surprised that despite the several trips and gaffes made in them, the "political pundits" who have history at their fingertips missed the obvious occurrence - that the leader is being mocked. Allow me to break it down for you.
Who is Rahul Gandhi?
While it seems prudent for me to judge, a small concise summary of his career would help me make this connection. The Gandhi surname would have sufficed. Here's a leader who led the charge against the current PM of India, which not only reduced the party’s vote share but personally led to a humiliating loss in one constituency and an alleged compromise to win a constituency in another state. You ask why this is important – well, the man couldn’t convince his own constituency, supposedly the stronghold held by his grandmother and father, to retain him as MP. While this in itself should be a red flag for a seasoned politician on the changing tide of the voters, there are others too.
The presence of the party has shrunk under his leadership, though this could be refuted on a technical basis – the party hasn’t had a President for some years. Instructions come from the top echelons, but who issued them remains a "mystery". It was this point that got even the electorate worried about the party. No one was in charge, but the party seemed to work like clockwork, even though the clock was stuck in a different timeline which operated as if the party had scored electoral victories galore!
Bharat Jodo Yatra – was it what the party needed?
On the advice of his learned advisors, the man decided to walk from South to North of India which they called Bharat Jodo Yatra. The initial states chosen were Congress friendly and in one state the yatra was also called off for a day since a party accused by the National Investigation Agency of terrorism had called for a Bandh. As the walk continued up north, an internal election was conducted where another leader was "elected" as the Party President. The more the Yatra moved North, the greater it's impact - in the state of Gujarat the party was decimated, Delhi municipal elections saw a Wipeout, and there was a narrow saving grace – Himachal Pradesh - in which the party secured a narrow victory.
The Yatra concluded with lot of aplomb in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It was refreshing to see a leader taking a nice vacation and enjoying what the Kashmir valley offered.
The “Lecture” at Cambridge
To me personally it was surprising that the next stop of the Yatra would be at Cambridge in the UK, especially at a time when the keyword amongst the electorate and around the world is De-colonization. The sentiment is prevalent in the UK as well where statues of slave traders and colonisers are being brought down each day. Even the statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalized in 2020!
Well the idea of being invited to present a lecture to the esteemed people of Cambridge was too good to be passed. In a sense what good would a lecture to the young voters of India, would benefit the party? It made total sense. After all an Indian walked across the length of a country which recently overtook UK to be the 5th largest economy in the world. It is only imperative that a report of sorts be presented to a group of people who do not have any voting rights in India but do possess a very powerful propaganda ecosystem.
Le Dîner de Cons
Now we have most of the pieces in place, we are slowly approaching the crescendo of the man’s goal. This is where the voters in India get an deeper insight into the political prowess of an ecosystem. A lecture was presented, but is mainly focused on what China did right and why India is on the road to doom and gloom. Just like any other Indian, he has the solutions to solve the problems but according to him, people are fools for voting the wrong person to power in two election cycles and from the looks of it will repeat it for a 3rd time as well.
The sitting MP may have sworn an oath to project the country in a dignified manner (or at least that what I think the oath would encompass at a minimum). But he chose to do the exact opposite. The elected MP goes from one forum to another while at it, even at one point calling out the US and UK for ‘not’ imposing sanctions on India, as Democracy is dying and people are voting wrong.
These lectures or talks aren’t open to the general public but on an invite only basis. The videos aren’t live streamed in the time where connectivity isn’t an issue but edited to remove any inconvenient truths. So now you have an MP from India going to a country which had colonized India for more than two centuries, and presents data points which he feels are indicators showing how bad the situation back home is in spite of him being elected in the same elections that he claims are failing.
So Mr Gandhi, however prudent it may seem, the truth needs to be told to you. I as an Indian voter strongly believe that you are being mocked rather than being appreciated for speaking ill of a country that has been paying your bills all your life. It is time for introspection – an introspection to conclude whether they are laughing at you or with you. It is one thing that you lose elections but going to a foreign country to complain makes you look weak and a sorry figure. This time on your way back home, I would suggest that you add the movie to your inflight playlist. The coincidences are too much to be ignored.
Image source: The Financial Express
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