Chetan Bhagat today gave a 10 point programme that could catapult Congress back to power in 2019. In this well-articulated article, which leaves readers wondering whether it was real or satire, Bhagat lists down how Congress can shed its ‘pro-Dynasty’ image. By getting Rahul Gandhi, heir to Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, to step back and let Sachin Pilot, son of Congress leader Rajesh Pilot and son in law of Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir take reigns.
Here are the 10 reasons Bhagat thinks this would work in favour of Congress.
1. 5% swing vote for fence-sitters who don’t want to vote for BJP but also don’t want to vote for Rahul Gandhi might vote for Pilot since he’s young, unlike the ‘other side’, by which we think he means BJP and not Rahul Gandhi himself, who is nearing 50 himself. He says Pilot also has a neutral accent, which appears more natural than Gandhi, who undertakes study tour in foreign lands to upgrade his ‘intelligence’. And the fact that Pilot is a fresh face, and probably has some sense of public decorum, which basically means he doesn’t smile like a lunatic when he loses elections or goes for condolence visits.
2. Bhagat then says Gandhi should back Pilot as PM candidate, openly. He has to show that he ‘respects talent’ by fully backing Pilot. Maybe he means Rahul should follow mamma’s footsteps. Like how she rewarded the talented Dr Manmohan Singh from 2004-2014 if you know what I mean.
3. Focus on issues that have hurt people, like ‘choking the economy’ since Modi has a seemingly non-corrupt image. This, I think, could be a masterstroke, because going by the trend, any scam that has been unravelled in last 3 and a half years, many have their roots in the ten years of UPA government. So perhaps Bhagat means Rahul should focus on how Modi has ‘choked’ Congress’ ‘economy’, after all, the party doesn’t even have funds to fight Nagaland elections, the poor things.
4. Bhagat asks Pilot to come up with their own UPA story. ‘What would he (with Rahul’s backing) do differently than BJP?’ Bhagat gives a caveat that what Pilot would do, will be in line and with the backing of Gandhi. This, of course, is not a novel idea and I expected better from Bhagat. Of course, it would be with Gandhi backing. Does he not remember how NAC worked? Or how the reigns of Manmohan Singh was squarely in the hands of Sonia Gandhi while she fooled people by playing the “tyaag ki murti” like a pro 70s tragic actress? Bhagat is merely suggesting that Rahul does the same. Who doesn’t like a politician who can act as well as that? Bhagat also says just two or three issues would be enough. I agree. Considering how people have no expectations from Gandhi, even one or two issues may be enough to push the fence-sitters towards Congress, along with the “tyaag ka murat” role played to perfection, of course.
5. Congress should come with ‘non-danda maar version of modern Hinduism’ for the new generation while remaining ‘satisfactory for traditionalist’. Considering Hinduism is Sanatan Dharma, I like how Bhagat thinks it is a good idea to politicise and twist the same for electoral gains. After Lord Krishna, only Rahul Gandhi can lead the next Arjun in form of Sachin Pilot, it seems. Or perhaps Bhagat meant, leave the “danda maar version of Hinduism” and adopt the “churri chalao” version? Considering Youth Congress thought it was a good idea to slaughter a calf in full public view? Or maybe he means “bus jalao” version of Congress Hinduism? Considering Congress is more than happy to create caste divides and ally with people who wouldn’t mind inciting a riot or two?
6. Alliances. Bhagat says Congress should tie up with any and everyone who crosses their paths. Maybe it would be a good time to seek Arvind Kejriwal as a coalition partner. Because, enemy’s enemy is your friend, and then both are striving for Modi-free India. So, why not? Afterall, the more overtly divisive and casteist lunatics like Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani have already been allied with.
7. Bhagat asks to cull old names. The ones who represent old Congress arrogance and ‘elitist’ attitude. But if you take arrogance, elitism and dynasty out of Congress, the party will cease to exist. I’m sure it would be supremely amusing to watch Rahul Gandhi read Bhagat’s advice wearing his Burberry jacket, but I digress.
8. Bhagat then wants Pilot, guided and backed by Gandhi, to chase the fence-sitters. He compares how Modi was put up as PM candidate, despite other senior leaders in the party. Essentially, Bhagat wants Gandhi to be Advani to Pilot who’d be the Modi for 2019. But then earlier he almost said he wants Pilot to have “Rahul’s backing”, which in the world of Congress, can only mean “ruling by proxy”. Confused much?
9. Rallies are passé. It’s the time to go digital, says Bhagat. Going by the social media skills of Congress, where they regularly spread lies and embarrass themselves, I’m not sure if Bhagat is rooting for Congress in 2019 or is a “BJP agent” set on sabotaging their chances.
10. ‘Don’t be evil’. Bhagat’s final commandment is to try and not be evil as power is poison. Which is true, since the 2004-2014 decade was one of the most poisonous one independent India has ever seen. Perhaps not repeating the same in future, if ever Congress gets a chance, is a good thought to keep in mind.
I agree with Chetan Bhagat on all the points. I am pretty sure if Congress follows these guidelines, it will indeed have a greater chance in 2019.
To ring in the second term for Narendra Modi.