Rahul Gandhi finally wakes up to Net Neutrality, and still doesn’t make sense

26 Days after TRAI opens up the Net Neutrality paper for public opinion for 1 month,

15 Days after IT Minister’s tweet about a Free Internet,

10 Days after his own party’s press conference on Net Neutrality,

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1 day after Net Neutrality was discussed in Lok Sabha during zero hour,

and after almost a million emails are sent to TRAI, purely by a public driven social media campaign,

Rahul Gandhi finally woke up. And spoke about Net Neutrality. To be fair to him, he was on holiday for 56 days, to an unknown place, just like every other person who has a full-time job takes a break from work. Except that Rahul Gandhi has no job so to speak.

And even when he did wake up, he spoke for all but 60 seconds on the actual issue. The Indian National Congress uploaded this video of Rahul’s speech on Net Neutrality. Although the duration of the video is 3 minutes 15 seconds, Rahul spoke on the actual subject for less than a minute.

He started by saying he has brought an adjournment motion to speak on “a matter of urgent importance”. Yes, if this was so “urgent important” to Rahul Gandhi, he wouldn’t wait for the entire country to be already fully aware and supporting Net neutrality, but I am sure he had far more pressing commitments in whichever country he was holidaying.

Anyway, although he said he wanted to speak on Net Neutrality, he started completely off topic. And stayed there for 2 minutes. He decided to take a jibe on the PM, and said “aapke PM”, to which the opposition immediately reminded him that the PM was of the entire country. Incidentally, in Rahul’s speech on the earlier day, he had made the same mistake, only to be chided by the opposition then too. It’s hard to get out of the vacation mood I suppose, especially if its 56 days long.

Anyway, Rahul corrected himself and said “desh ke PM” and then spoke about Obama’s praise for Modi in the Time magazine. Remember, he brought the adjournment motion to speak on Net Neutrality. He said Obama praised Modi, USA had many industries, Modi helped USA, and the last time any US President praised another head of state, was Gorbachev, who had also helped USA. Rahul probably wanted to refer to the time Reagan praised Gorbachev, and eventually USSR split up. And by that, Rahul was probably trying to say India too may split up, but his delivery and choice of word was so poor, nobody got the point, and then he had to explain his analogy to the press, after the Lok Sabha session. Mind you, we are still talking about “Net Neutrality”, at least in Rahul Gandhi’s mind.

A good two minutes have passed by now, when Rahul finally starts speaking something relevant. Only to be reminded by the speaker, that this topic was already discussed in the Zero Hour yesterday. Guess Rahul Gandhi did not attend that either, but anyway the Speaker let Rahul have his say.

Rahul, then said that the Government wanted “to carve out the Internet and hand it over to the corporates”. This is line with his “corporates ki sarkaar” jibe, but it isn’t in line with the truth. Truth is the IT minister has made his pro-Net Neutrality stand clear, and TRAI is still seeking public suggestions on the issue. So this idea that the Government is handing the Internet over to the corporates, might have germinated in one of the lazy siestas Rahul enjoyed in his 56-day holiday.

Abraham Lincoln had said it is “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Probably Rahul Gandhi hadn’t heard of this, because his next statement on Net Neutrality, which was also his last statement, was hilarious. He asked the Government to “stop the TRAI consultation” and write or change the law.

Are you serious Rahul? I mean Are you serious? The whole purpose of the TRAI consultation is to get the views of the public so that TRAI can make recommendations on how the law should be, and you want this process of asking the people their views to be stopped?

Not only did Rahul Gandhi jump into this debate very very late, he was woefully wrong on the one suggestion he had, just like he was wrong on the “suit-boot” sarkar speech. And inspite of this foolish, delayed statement, which lasted only for a minute, while the other two minutes were used up in a stupid, ill-communicated analogy, Indian media went cuckoo for Rahul Gandhi. Are You Serious Media?

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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