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PM Modi holding his own umbrella while addressing media ahead of the Monsoon session renews the debate surrounding Kaamdar and Naamdar

The Naamdar vs Kaamdar debate was first sparked by Prime Minister Modi himself during the run-up to the 2019 General elections.

With rains pouring down in the national capital, PM Modi while holding an umbrella in his one hand addressed the media ahead of the parliament’s Monsoon session and appealed to the opposition lawmakers to participate in the Parliament proceedings and work together with the government to make the Monsoon session commencing on Monday a productive and constructive one. 

However, the prime minister’s humble gesture of holding his own umbrella and not having an assistant to do the same instantly caught the attention of netizens online, who pointed out the past instances when Congress-era Prime Ministers and senior Congress leaders had helpers holding umbrellas behind them as they ventured out in inclement weather. The dichotomy between the two instances triggered an instant debate between naamdar and kaamdar, flooding the social media websites with images of PM Modi holding his umbrella juxtaposed with photos of Congress leaders with their staff members holding umbrellas for them.

Social Media users’ reaction on PM Modi holding his own umbrella

A raft of social media users on Twitter pointed out how PM Modi was humble enough to hold his own umbrella while Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former party president Rahul Gandhi, delegated the work of carrying umbrellas to the retinue of helpers and assistants that accompany them. Many social media users also shared images from the past when staff personnel of Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi held umbrellas for them.

Many juxtaposed the image with those of opposition leaders, especially Congress’ Nehru-Gandhi family which is always surrounded by assistants.

Kaamdar vs Naamdar: The political debate between one who works and the one who received politics in inheritance

The Naamdar vs Kaamdar debate was first sparked by Prime Minister Modi himself during the run-up to the 2019 General elections. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi cast himself as ‘kaamdar’ while taking a swipe at the Congress prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi, alluding to him as ‘naamdar’, in a bid to distinguish one who works and one who received politics in the inheritance because of his surname.

Rahul Gandhi has the privilege of belonging to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Despite umpteen electoral failures, he continues to remain one of the towering leaders of the Congress party, perhaps because his adopted surname is Gandhi. This is in stark contrast to PM Modi, who has had to struggle his way to achieve what he has in his life. PM Modi rose through the ranks in BJP on his sheer hard work and experience, traits that immensely helped in becoming the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2013. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi, who had a history of numerous poll defeats, continues to be one of the most important Congress leaders, by the virtue of his surname.

Driving home the difference between himself and Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi had said on multiple occasions that he was just like common people and was not born with a golden spoon and did not enjoy special privileges as dynasts in the country did. Rahul Gandhi and other dynasts in the country

The assertions made by PM Modi during the hustings seems to have struck a chord with people as BJP scored a thumping victory in the General elections, bagging 303 seats on its own—creating history and winning an unprecedented number of seats by a single party in decades. While Congress did marginally well than it fared in the 2014 elections, the writing on the wall was all too conspicuous to be ignored: “Kaamdar has emphatically trounced the naamdars in the elections”.

Shortly after the poll debacle, Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post of Congress president, raising hopes among the Congress supporters that the party might finally salvage itself from nepotism’s menace. However, since then Sonia Gandhi, the mother of Rahul Gandhi and former party president, is the interim party president and there are no signs of the Congress party being relieved from the control of the Gandhi family. Even as the party continues to languish election after election, the firm grip of naamdars only seems to be tightening.

Even Congress leaders have demonstrated no strong will to rescue the party from the quicksand it found itself bogged under in the 2019 elections. After breaking creative ground in the field of sycophancy and their servitude to the Gandhi family, an overwhelming number of Congress leaders still want Rahul Gandhi to lead the party, even though the party has been at its nadir in its more than 135 years of existence in India’s political landscape.

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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