Congress President Rahul Gandhi is a changed man. He is no longer the Clown Prince who only spreads falsehood on Rafale. Clutching the straws ahead of the make-or-break elections for the Congress, Rahul Gandhi has metamorphosed into Pennywise, the menacing character from 1986 Stephen King horror-thriller, It.
After trying to legitimise distasteful attacks against Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with his false narrative about dubious tapes, Rahul Gandhi then politicised his personal visit to the ailing chief minister who is recovering from pancreatic cancer, to lie about Rafale. While Rahul Gandhi said that he was on a personal visit and Congress even confirmed that the dubious Rafale tapes were not discussed, Rahul later claimed that Parrikar had nothing to do in the new Rafale deal ‘orchestrated by PM Modi’ to ‘benefit Anil Ambani’. This came a day after he tweeted alleging that Parrikar is ‘in possession of explosive Rafale secrets’ which give him power over the PM.
Shocked and distressed by the same, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar wrote a letter to Rahul Gandhi, expressing his disappointment at Rahul Gandhi for letting him down and using the visit for petty political gains. Anyone, who has even an iota of conscience left, would have apologised for the outrageous behaviour.
But not our homegrown ‘Pennywise’.
Rahul Gandhi responded to the letter by posting a reply on his Twitter account. He continued to brazen it out by saying that Parrikar is under ‘immense pressure’ from the PM ‘after our meeting in Goa’ and ‘needs to demonstrate his loyalty by attacking me’, casting aspersions that Rahul Gandhi and Manohar Parrikar may have discussed Rafale but now on the direction of PM Modi, Parrikar is ‘attacking him’ to prove his loyalty.
I totally empathise with Parrikar Ji’s situation & wish him well. He’s under immense pressure from the PM after our meeting in Goa and needs to demonstrate his loyalty by attacking me.
Attached is the letter I’ve written him. pic.twitter.com/BQ6V6Zid8m
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 30, 2019
This when the former Defence Minister has clarified that the Inter-Government Agreement between Indian and French government and the procurement of the Rafale jet is done as per Defence Procurement Protocol (DPP). He stated the aircraft is being procured following all standard procedures keeping national security as top priority.
Parrikar, in his letter, had even requested Rahul Gandhi to actually put out the truth and not use his visit to an ailing person to feed his political opportunism.
Rahul Gandhi, in his letter to the Goa CM, said, “I am disturbed to hear about a letter which you have supposedly written to me, but instead leaked to the press before I have had a chance to read it.”
Rahul Gandhi then says that in his two speeches since he met Parrikar, the statements he had attributed to Parrikar were not from their meeting, but from what was already in the public domain. He even brought up the dubious tapes which Rahul Gandhi refused to get authenticated and take responsibility.
So Congress President very cleverly goes to meet an ailing man, asks after him by pretending to empathise with his health situation, and then hours later, attributes quotes to him sans the disclaimers. This, unsurprisingly, is not the first time he has used an ailing man to score political brownies.
In June 2018, Rahul Gandhi had paid a visit to the ailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Addressing a rally in Mumbai, he said, “Vajpayee ji is ill, who went first? I went to meet him at the hospital. Though he fought against us, Vajpayee ji worked for nation-building.” He went on to add, “LK Advani has been the guru of PM Modi, but I have seen in events that PM Modi does not even respect his guru. Today I feel very sad for Advani ji. The Congress party has given him more respect than Modi Ji.” And this despite AIIMS warning Rahul Gandhi not to visit Vajpayee due to his health concerns. Why let health concern of an ailing man come in between a political fight just before elections?
Moreover, seems like Rahul Gandhi was forgetting his own party’s legacy where former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader P. V. Narasimha Rao’s dead body was not allowed inside Congress headquarters because of his mother Sonia Gandhi’s petty ego.
And preying on ailing ministers and leaders from the Opposition is not the only thing Rahul Gandhi seems to be good at. Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of ‘scams’ are so bizarre that even he could not keep track of the amount involved in these ‘scams’. He quotes different figure at different times which keeps increasing by a few thousand crores. For example, he starts off with removing the difference between loan waiver and loan write off. Rahul Gandhi then keeps on changing the amount of ‘loan waive off’ of industrialists ever since 2014. Let it be known, these loans are ‘written off’ and not ‘waived off’, which means, while they stop appearing in the assets side of the bank, the banks continue taking the legal route to recover the loan amount.
In November 2016, addressing a large group of Congress activists in Bhiwandi, Rahul Gandhi claimed that the Modi government had then waived off loans worth Rs 1.1 lakh crores of big industrialists. During campaigning for Gujarat assembly polls in 2017, Rahul Gandhi inexplicably increased this figure by astounding 20,000 crores to Rs 1.3 lakh crores and repeated the same trite. In Karnataka, he went a step ahead and conjured up another grand figure- Rs 2.5 lakh crores of industrialists’ ‘loans’ being waived off by the Modi Government, again with no proof whatsoever. During the run-up to Chhattisgarh polls, the figure had magically reached Rs 3.5 lakh crores.
No one in the mainstream media has questioned Rahul Gandhi on the eternally changing figures of these ‘loan waivers’. No one has even corrected Rahul Gandhi that these are write-offs and not waivers and that there is a difference. Rahul Gandhi continues to lie, the pliable media continues to print without questioning, correcting, thereby helping Congress further a narrative based on lies.
With Rafale, Rahul Gandhi has resorted to doing what Congress party does best: playing with emotions. Back in 2002, just before the 2004 general elections, Congress had started crying hoarse that there was a ‘Coffin scam‘. During the Kargil war, the Indian government had purchased aluminium coffins for transporting the mortal remains of the slain soldiers. the coffins cost $2,500 per unit. The opposition parties, led by Congress, had alleged that there was a huge scam in the purchase as the price paid by India was too high. It was alleged that the price was thirteen times the original price, and India had lost $1,87,000 in the ‘scam’.
George Fernandes was the then Defence Minister in the Vajpayee government. While it may appear that Congress wants the Rafale deal to be the ‘Bofors scam’ for the Modi government, if you look closely, it is actually a rehash of ‘coffin scam’, the one which never was. Just like Rahul Gandhi has used the entire offset amount in Rafale deal, the bulk of which go to PSUs, a benefit given to Reliance, that time also a rental price was used as the purchase price to invent a scam.
Allegations of ‘coffin scam’ and Rafale have a lot of similarities. Both of them involve the defence ministry. Both strike an emotional chord with the sensitive Indians. During the run-up to 2004 elections, Congress played with the sentiments of Indians by saying how the then NDA government ministers were filling their pockets over dead bodies of soldiers. With Rafale, Congress is playing with the feelings of the common man by claiming how the government at Centre is pocketing big bucks and helping their ‘industrialist friends’ while farmers die. The already angry middle class, which is fighting rising prices and tired of the rampant corruption which still prevails in the country, will get angry at the government. More so because the said ‘scandal’ again involves the defence. So, not only is Rahul Gandhi playing the emotional card in terms of ‘see how Modi is corrupt’ but also tugging at their patriotism by trying to portray that the Modi government is undermining national security for his ‘industrial friends’. This when Modi has gone on record to say that he has no qualms in being seen with industrialists because industrialists are also an important part and contributors towards the economy.
So with help from the friends in national media, which has been created with Congress’ support over the years, Congress continues the false narrative that Modi is anti-poor. In the 1970s also Indira Gandhi gave the slogan ‘Garibi Hatao’, in 2019, Rahul Gandhi announces free money to the poor through the minimum income programme. In 40 years, during most of which Congress was in power, Congress never worked to remove poverty because they don’t consider poor people as humans but as vote banks. If they stop being poor, and if they start having a better life, better education, they will realise the follies of Congress and the vote bank will go away. Gareebi hatao, gareebo ko nahin is what Congress has strived for all these years.
Moreover, what is even more dangerous is that while it took a couple of years for the Supreme Court to clear the government and declare that there was no scam in the ‘coffin scam’, the Supreme Court has already cleared the current government on Rafale deal. Even then, whenever Rahul Gandhi peddles his lies, including in press conferences, not a single media person with a spine confronts him with facts.
You see, that is also how Pennywise worked. While Pennywise fed on children’s deepest fears, Rahul Gandhi and Congress feed on emotions of people. Pennywise shapeshifted into monsters the children would be most terrified of. Rahul Gandhi has transformed into a monster himself who has no apprehensions in playing politics over the severe illness of people.
Yes, politics is ruthless, but then every war has rules and ethics. The dharma of a fair fight, of the fight between equals. Rahul Gandhi’s latest avatar does not show him as a go-getter, aggressive, ruthless politician, but as a loser who has nothing more left to lose, which makes him very dangerous.