Even congratulating Abhijit Banerjee had to be about Narendra Modi.
Rahul Gandhi seems so badly bothered by Narendra Modi all the time that whether it is birth anniversaries or national occasions, he sees Modi everywhere.
Political antagonism is nothing new. But Rahul Gandhi’s ire, given that it manifests itself literally everywhere, Vipassana notwithstanding, seems to originate from deep personal resentment.
Perhaps, Gandhi feels he has been a failure in fulfilling the role that his doting mother tried to orchestrate for him and he feels he let her down. He pins all the blame for that on Modi.
Or it is that he still has not come to grips with the fact that someone from Narendra Modi’s background could ever trounce him? Not English-speaking, nor from fancy schools or foreign universities, and yet, Modi got the better of Gandhi. This sentiment is surely part of it because, post-2014, Gandhi was seen attributing Modi’s victory to ‘marketing’. Post-2019, ‘institutional subversion’ and other such reasons were used to console himself – essentially, anything but Modi’s own track record of work which Gandhi thinks is all made up.
Even four days before the election results of 2019, Rahul Gandhi was speaking of EVMs and the Election Commission’s ‘capitulation’ before Modi and his ‘gang’. “Otherwise, how could Modi ever win against me in a fair contest?”, Rahul Gandhi seemed to think after hearing various reports about the writing on the wall.
To illustrate the wisdom from Mario Puzo’s pen that hatred affects one’s judgement, ironically, one needs to go no farther than half-Italian Rahul Gandhi. His personal hatred for Modi made Gandhi centre the 2019 election around a cheap slogan against Narendra Modi and his party bore the brunt of it. It was always ‘Modi this, Modi that’. But Gandhi has not learnt a single lesson.
The contrast cannot be starker. Narendra Modi’s speeches or tweets are about so many different things and Rahul Gandhi’s presence is rarely ever acknowledged. Modi, in my memory, has never taken Rahul Gandhi’s name directly – it has always been monikers like ‘Naamdaar’.
The only exception to this was when Rahul Gandhi said, “If Modi wants to speak on my parents, he can do so, but I will not speak on his family. Even if Narendra Modi’s parents may have done something wrong, I won’t comment on his parents.”
In response, for the first time Modi took Rahul Gandhi’s name and said, “I will sponsor Rahul Gandhi’s press conference if he finds any wrongdoing about my parents.”
Rahul Gandhi went to such an extent that he even pulled in Modi’s completely apolitical parents into his own political mudslinging.
It is in this context that one must see the ostensible ‘churn’ within the Congress party.
Saner political minds that have no love lost for Modi still have the common sense to see that the Congress party, fashioned in Rahul Gandhi’s own hateful and spiteful image, is constantly targeting Modi personally and shooting itself in the foot. The sooner Rahul Gandhi finds a cure for his bitterness and resentment, the better it is for him and his party.