Rahul Gandhi at the Pitch

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Congress spokesperson said that Rahul Gandhi was Congress’ Mahendra Singh Dhoni. His comments had come soon after India won the T20 World Cup. On the same day, Rahul was inducted as the General Secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC). Congress, which is now preparing for early polls, is hoping that the charisma of ‘Gandhian Genes’ will work in its favour. The Congress hopes that Rahul and his team comprising of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Maken, Priya Dutt, Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasad and Sandeep Dikshit would galvanise the Congress T20 for a victory in 2009. Time will only tell whether this team emerges victorious or not.

The two teams, the Indian cricket team and Congress’ team represent contemporary team members. Rahul is riding high on his family’s ‘surname’ and he himself has said that being a ‘Gandhi’ definitely helps. He belongs to the political party, which has been blamed of playing dynastic politics and is averse of inducting new faces. Most of the team members in Rahul’s team are in the side because they have all have a connection with the Nehru-Gandhi family for.decades. Coming to the Indian cricket team, this team features the young, dynamic and meritocratic members who have fought their way to the top. They don’t have any legacy in the world of cricket and are in the side on the basis of their sheer talent and ability. They are street smart and are aware of their strengths and weakness right from the days when they started their careers.

This is perhaps the story of modern India. Sociologist Ashis Nandy once said that there were four areas in Indian society where family and privilege did not matter and sheer talent was always rewarded. These areas were Bollywood, the stock market, organised crime and sports. The person who is ruling the various spheres belong to this meritocratic section of the people. You can take the case of Shahrukh Khan, Sunil Mittal, Narendra Modi, or the latest sensation in cricket, Praveen Kumar. The Indian cricket system has unearthed the talent from the interiors of the country and the players that are making their way to the top belong to the middle class, which is driving the economy of our nation. I fully believe that unless we give space to the youth in our political system, we will not achieve the success which Dhoni and his teammates have. Whenever there has been a revolution in any part of the world the torch bearer has always arrived from the dusty alleyways, far from the comfort of having everything and getting everything very easily. The same trend has yet not arrived in Indian politics, which is in dire need of a face change. Politics is becoming the monopoly of the particular families and the position of ‘captain’ is always inherited.

Rahul is definitely trying to change few things within the Congress, but whether he will be successful is a big question. Arjun Singh might have predicted Rahul as a candidate for Prime Minister, but till date, Rahul has shown nothing ‘special’ that makes him a viable option for the top post, and yet he can still inherit that post! Whatever I have seen of Rahul during the various assembly elections and as a star campaigner of the party, he is mostly dependant on his family. It is very true that the brand ‘Gandhi’ still sells among the voters, but the new India should be more meritocratic and there should be space for all, and, the power must not rest in.a few hands. If Rahul and the Congress want to change their fortune then it is very essential that the overall system and administration of the Congress should be changed. There should be long sightedness in their vision, an end to parochial politics and must be the party with whom today’s youth can associate with. They must be able to take some strong decisions on the issues of the national importance and must refrain from casteism, which has become synonymous with the politics of the nation.

Rishabh Srivastava


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