Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How Rahul Can Still Turn It Around.

In a few days, Rahul G will face a seminal moment. He will have to face the media heat for the immodest defeat in Uttar Pradesh. The fawning press will want the princeling to say a few words. Instead of issuing yet another bland statement, it will be wonderful if the Real Rahul stands up without the crutches of preordained power and bares his soul to the nation with his very own voice. It’ll indeed raise eyebrows, turn heads, stop the traffic and win him new friends if he delivers the quintessence of the fantasy speech that follows…

“I know a lot of you are watching me, hearing me and judging me, only because I am Rahul Gandhi. I am not sure how many of you will ever grant me even a split second of your precious time, if I were just another Rahul. And not a Gandhi. Such is the power of the surname that I bear.

For four decades, my family members have generously benefited from the Gandhi legacy. We’ve had 8 Members of Parliament, 2 Prime Ministers and have been blessed with unconditional love, respect, adulation and the creamiest of posts from the Congress Party.

Our critics see us as a self-perpetuating dynasty that lords over this magnificent country by virtue of the borrowed glory that comes with the halo of a Gandhi.

While I beg to disagree with this harsh view, it is blindingly clear to all who can see that a goofy guy like me who made it to St. Stephen’s on sports quota, a political novice who was offered Amethi on a silver platter, and a Member of Parliament with zero administrative experience is literally being handed over the keys to drive India in a new direction.

The point I am making is: if you really look at it honestly, I am where I am not out of merit. But due to a genetic accident. The accident of being born as a Gandhi.

So I have three questions for myself: Do I really deserve your respect? Am I worthy of leading a democracy without ever proving my skills? Is it okay for a man to be the captain of India without ever playing a single test match?

I think the answer is a resounding NO. Because I don’t know enough about the intricacies of foreign policy, national security and fiscal management. I don’t know enough about the devastating pain of poverty. I don’t know enough about the simmering rage of the unemployed. I don’t know enough about the angst of the farmer who has nothing but mountains of debt to look forward to. I don’t know enough about the cultural alienation of our brothers and sisters in the North East. I don’t know enough about governing a state, city or for that matter, even a municipal ward.

Yes, my friends, the bitter truth is: I don’t know enough. The more I think about it, the only thing I seem to know is: I am a Gandhi. So I am entitled to rule.

I think, THIS SOCH IS WRONG. I don’t think its right for me to aspire for the highest seat of governance, just because I happen to be a Gandhi.

If at all I head a government, it should be on my own merit and track record. So for all of you who’ve been kind enough to listen to my words, I have a few announcements to make.

From today, I, on my own volition, renounce the GANDHI name. From today, I wish to be called just: ‘Rahul’.

Before this is labelled as ‘Rahul’s latest drama’, let me affirm that I am pretty serious. I repeat: NO MORE RAHUL GANDHI. JUST CALL ME RAHUL.

I am willingly letting go of the crown of thorns that my dear family has been saddled with, for years. I am willingly setting myself free from the burden of expectations placed on me by my dear supporters. I am willingly resigning as the Member of Parliament of Amethi. I am willingly stepping down as the General Secretary of the Indian National Congress.

I know my actions will cause tremendous political turmoil. But let me nip the crisis in the bud by stating unequivocally that I am not running away from politics. I am going to be very much a soldier of the Congress army. I am going to work my way up just like every good old party worker.

And how am I planning to do this? I am going to start all over again from scratch. Just like I spent a year or more in Uttar Pradesh, I am going to give it my all to revive Congress in states that need us badly. I am going to contest the next election as an MLA from one of the toughest states to govern - Chhattisgarh. My aim will be to win the Chhattisgarh elections and help my party form a government there. If they happen to elect me as Chief Minister, I would push the limits of my limitations to turn one of the most backward states of India into a state of happiness in 5 years.

If I deliver, I would not hesitate to get back to national politics. If I deliver, I can look you in the eye and say these very words, and you would believe me. If I deliver, I hope my critics will have the grace to concede that I am not that bad after all. If I deliver, many more young people will be encouraged and emboldened to give up the comfort of their family name and make a name for themselves.

That I think will be my sweetest victory. A victory far greater than winning a family lottery and bagging the prime ministership as the jackpot. That’s all I wish to say. Thanks for everything. See you in 5 years."

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