New Delhi: A day after he created a sensation by claiming the controversial ordinance on convicted legislators to be unacceptable, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, taking further control of the situation and charting a new course for his party, termed his own behaviour the day before to be ‘complete nonsense’.
Rahul’s stunning damning of his own performance came at the meet-the-press programme here this morning where Union Minister Manish Tewari was ironically defending his (Rahul’s) behaviour at a meet-the-press programme yesterday.
After Rahul’s headline-grabbing show, Manish Tewari, in a quick about-turn, said that Rahul’s position is also the official stand of the party. ‘It is perfectly acceptable to the Congress that Rahul finds his own conduct unacceptable. But it only makes him more acceptable to us,’ Manish Tewari, who has this rare gift of making simple sentences sound complicated, said.
‘It is only in the Congress that an individual can actually practice democracy within himself,’ he said and added ‘dissension is the lifeline of evolved democracy, and Rahul has actually managed to further evolve it to the levels where a person can dissent against himself’.
The latest development, according to experts in the media, will help Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who found his position completely undermined by Rahul Gandhi yesterday, to regain lost ground and continue to be the Prime Minister of the nation by being subservient to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.
This morning, it was a brief and surprise show from Rahul as he turned up when Manish Tewary was halfway into his usual spiel. It was clear that Rahul was extremely impatient so much so that after rolling up his kurta sleeves he started rolling Manish Tewari’s.
Soon enough he took the mike, and in an even tone and straight face, he said ‘I should have been stopped and thrown out yesterday.’ Even as there were gasps of disbelief among the gathered journalists, Rahul added: ‘You would have heard the party line from Manishji. Now I will tell you what is my opinion on my behaviour yesterday. It was complete nonsense’.
He said the ‘arguments’ made in his own party in favour of his own behaviour were due to ‘political considerations’. ‘It is time to stop this nonsense, political parties, mine and all others’, he thundered, even as he ran out of sleeves to roll up. ‘If we want to fight unacceptable behaviour, we can’t continue making these small compromises. Because if we make these small compromises with ourselves, then we make bigger compromises with ourselves.’
As Rahul got up to leave, members of a suddenly galvanised press wanted to know whether his views had been shaped by the flak he had been getting from others over his criticism of the ordinance. Rahul returned to his seat to say: ‘I’m not interested in what others say. As an individual, I am interested in what I say only.’ And then came the punchline: ‘I personally feel what Rahul did was completely wrong,’ before he made a dramatic exit into the same door through which he had earlier entered.
Meanwhile, sources said that Sonia Gandhi, reacting to the flux-filled developments, called up the Prime Minister who is now in the USA and played down Rahul’s outburst against himself. She reportedly told Manmohan Singh that just because Rahul had criticised himself it doesn’t mean others can too. ‘Your position of being subservient to him will not be undermined in any manner,’ she reportedly assured him.
Elsewhere, political watchers in the media were effusive in their praise of Rahul for crticising himself. ‘It signifies the coming of age of the young turks in the Congress party. Even though most of them are not exactly young and certainly not Turks,’ wrote one respected political columnist.
Many more young MPs in the Congress are expected to be emboldened by Rahul’s example, and they too are likely to come out in strong criticism of themselves for not adequately applauding his efforts.
Meanwhile, MoS for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor tweeted ‘… now that my party VP has broken ranks with himself, I’m delighted. I’d now break ranks with myself and praise him’.
(Disclaimer: The author of Crank’s News has termed this news report as brilliant)