In an earlier report, we had documented the numerous occasions between 2009 and 2015 when the media had declared the ‘coming of age’ of now Congress President Rahul Gandhi. It appears the media hasn’t changed much since then. They have heralded the rise of Rahul Gandhi almost as many times as the Starks say “Winter is Coming” on Game of Thrones.
The latest instance was yesterday when The Wire published an Op-Ed by one Anikendra Sen where he argues that “The Congress president is clearly emerging as the game changer in the 2019 general elections.”
Two days after the Congress secured a victory in the Assembly Elections of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, it was only to be expected that the media would award much more credit to the Congress President than he deserved and the media did not disappoint.
The Daily Star, The Economic Times, all declared that Rahul Gandhi had finally ‘come of age’. The most hilarious, however, was certainly the google results that pop up for Economic Times. In 2009, the media outlet had declared with certainty: “Rahul Gandhi: A Coming of Age”. Over 9 years later, the certainty had certainly been drained out from its voice and in 2018, the same outlet posed it as a question, “Has Rahul Gandhi come of age?” Well, at least they conceded that they could not be sure this time around.
But the media was declaring the ‘coming of age’ of Rahul Gandhi even before the Congress party’s recent victories in the recent state elections. In December, 2017, The Indian Express published an Op-Ed with the headline ‘Rahul Gandhi’s coming of age in 2017 sparks hopes of a Congress revival’ where the author argued “The image the Rahul Gandhi of 2017 wants to build and project is not of ‘an angry outsider’ but that of an ‘evolved politician’ as he seeks to rebuild the Congress party that has been at its lowest ebb in its 132-year history”.
Around the same time, India Today, too published an article which claimed that Rahul Gandhi has come of age.
Every media outlet appears to have published articles where they have declared the coming of age of Rahul Gandhi as a politician. At least in Game of Thrones, after 6 seasons, Winter eventually came but it appears Indian media outlets will still be heralding the coming of age of Rahul Gandhi even when he is 70.
Since 2015, what has Rahul Gandhi really done to prove that he has ‘come of age’? He voiced his support for the ‘Tukde Tukde’ gang of JNU, he has been lying repeatedly on the Rafale issue, he met with Chinese officials, secretly, while India was engaged in the Doklam standoff with China. Are these the signs of the ‘coming of age’ of a politician? When Rahul Gandhi is not lying on the floor of the Parliament, he is busy winking. And the lies are not white lies, his lies made the French government issue a clarification on the matter.
The only thing that has changed with Rahul Gandhi in recent times is the fact that he will stop at nothing to ensure Modi’s defeat, even if it meant his own party suffering electorally. In Uttar Pradesh, it has essentially conceded the entire space to the alliance between SP and BSP. In West Bengal, he ignored the state unit of his own party which claimed that Trinamool was murdering its supporters and went overboard in his support to Mamata Banerjee. In Karnataka, it’s in an alliance with the JD(S) which appears far too similar to a bad marriage. The Congress has been entirely wiped out from the North East as well. In Delhi, the party is said to be considering an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party, which would have seemed impossible couple of years back.
The Congress has been continuously ceding ground and that is fine. It appears for Rahul Gandhi and Congress, stopping Narendra Modi is more important than their own recovery. But the ‘stop at nothing’ attitude has also meant that the Congress President used the ruse of a courtesy visit to a terminally ill man to spread utter lies on the Rafale matter for electoral gains. That’s utterly disgraceful.
Read also: Leave Manohar Parrikar alone, Rahul Gandhi
Of late, Rahul Gandhi has displayed an utter disregard for conventions and norms and stooped to unthinkable lows for electoral benefits. To the ‘pliant media’, it might appear as ‘coming of age’ but to sane folks, it shows a dangerous anarchic trait that the Congress President Rahul Gandhi appears to have picked up from his apparent ally Arvind Kejriwal. It’s no surprise then while the state unit of the Congress party and its workers are shedding blood for the party, Rahul Gandhi has no hesitating in embracing Trinamool for his personal ambitions.
‘Pliant Media’ may try to cloak it under the garb of fancy phrases like ‘coming of age’, in reality, these are only the desperate attempts of a political party in a state of decline to remain relevant by shedding every manner of decency, conventions and norms and an increasing willingness to sacrifice national interest at the altar of personal ambition.