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Priyanka’s blank Twitter account with 1.5 lakh followers is the metaphor for the connection between The Family and India

For a nation as great as India, this is a sad way to be. To throw away our collective sense of self-belief and use it to feed the arrogance of a decades-old ruling family.

This is the official Twitter handle of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

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Anybody who is tempted to go to her Twitter timeline is greeted with the stark message of “@priyankagandhi hasn’t Tweeted” in bold black lettering.

But the account is all set up, with the distinguished blue tick from Twitter. And we see in the corner: 1.5 lakh followers already.

This empty page with 1.5 lakh followers already is the perfect metaphor for our relationship with the Congress Dynasty.

What have we seen of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s political “career” so far? Launched from the high position of General Secretary of the Congress Party. Relentless coverage of the closed door and nameplate of her new office in the Congress Headquarters.

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And now her blank Twitter timeline with 1.5 lakh followers waiting. The digital version of standing outside her closed office door.

So far, Priyanka Gandhi has made a few guest appearances in past Congress campaigns, most of them completely forgettable. Just two moments come to mind: one time when she denigrated Smriti Irani as “Who?” when she was running against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in 2014. And again in 2014 when she dismissed the BJP as “jumping like rats”.

That someone with zero political experience should denigrate Smriti Irani, a sitting Rajya Sabha MP as “who” or compare the then main opposition BJP to rats… This stunning arrogance, where does it come from?

The answer is that this arrogance of one Dynasty is something that we have nurtured as a nation. We are all guilty. Starting from the Pidis who stood outside her closed office door, feverishly covering her surname plate. To even the right-wingers who followed her on Twitter just out of “curiosity”. To the person who is writing this article, i.e., I myself. Guilty as charged.

Guilty of paying too much attention to them.

The deity is nothing without the devotees.

Today I read this said about Priyanka Gandhi somewhere, on a popular news portal.

It was obvious she has the capacity to connect with people, remembering names and faces, looking down at people thronging the truck…

It barely matters which one. Nearly all of them have used expressions like this. At least one outlet described her qualities as superhuman. Literally.

The only thing more pathetic than this fawning, servile use of language is how little content the Dynasty leaves its devotees to go on. Leaving them starved of detail, trying to squeeze out new ways to praise her. Now she gets praise for looking down at faces of people as she passed by on a truck. Other Pidis have written reams about her resemblance to Indira Gandhi. That’s all they have to go on.

Even worse is the fact that in contemporary politics, there is often an effort to associate the word “arrogance” with Narendra Modi. The justifiable pride that a self-made man takes in his accomplishments is painted as “arrogance”. The astonishing arrogance of the Dynasty is let pass without notice.

This is really the concept of what “privilege” means. Without the backing of a birthright claim to rule India, elite classes see any form of self-expression by the masses as “arrogance”. When these same elites build up Priyanka Gandhi to assert her birthright, they are also telling the rest of us to stay in our place.

Why look upwards when she is up there on her high vehicle, willing to look downwards at us?

For a nation as great as India, this is a sad way to be. To throw away our collective sense of self-belief and use it to feed the arrogance of a decades-old ruling family. The fawning of the Pidis has been mocked by right-wingers. And it should be. But somewhere down the line, we are all getting drawn into the same game. We are all guilty.

 

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Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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