Will Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi succeed in unseating Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power by “proving” the latter corrupt? His diatribe against the prime minister on Thursday in Gujarat of all the places has not exactly caused an “earthquake” that he had threatened a few days ago, but his party workers, supporters and countless Modi-haters on social media have been overjoyed over his “daring attack”.
One does not want to deal with the question whether there are merits or otherwise in Rahul’s charges against Modi that he took money from the Sahara group and the Aditya Birla group as bribes when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, except mentioning the fact that the charges have been in the common domains for long, which none other than the Supreme Court of India has observed to be trivial while dealing with a public interest litigation on the subject by Advocate Prashant Bhushan (the court is about “dismiss” the case in the next hearing in January if “concrete evidence” is not cited).
However, what is more important is that if Rahul’s charges are taken to the logical conclusion then Congress chief ministers of the time, along with those belonging to some Opposition parties as well will also be held “guilty” as they had received similar bribes from the aforesaid companies; their names are mentioned in the same “seized diaries” that contain the words “CM Gujarat”. May be Rahul has more incriminating evidence against Modi that some Congress cheerleaders are claiming. But the germane point is whether it is a good political strategy to revive the fortunes of the Congress
From the point of view of its long-term interests, a Rahul-led Congress should work in a manner so that people “vote for him” , rather than “vote against Modi”. In other words, he should work on why people should vote for him and the Congress, rather than on why people should vote against Modi and the BJP. But Rahul seems to prefer “vote against Modi” strategy. It is a part of this strategy that has made the Congress the junior-most partner in Bihar. It is a part of this strategy that is likely to make Congress a junior partner of the Samajwadi Party in the forthcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. It is part of this strategy that has virtually made Congress a junior partner of even the Trinamool Congress in opposing Modi’s demonetisation drive (see how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has used the anti-demonetisation campaigns as an opportunity in projecting herself to be the national leader who could be the pivot around whom non-BJP parties could gather to present a combined fight against Modi in 2019).