ByÂ Daphne Clarance:
A session of tears; a little melodramatic I must say or will this actually emerge out to be one of the turning points of India’s future developmental progress. Can’t say much, but I think Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Jaipur on Sunday that referred to governance and “change” in the “system”, had some of theÂ pioneering words that a political leader has ever said to the mass society in a long time. This time I have had a change of heart as Rahul candidly spoke about failures that the Congress has made in these past years after independence, while promising at the same time that there would be a “change” and adding very honestly, that it would be slowly but soothingly taken care off.
The reticent Rahul’s speech consisted of his experiences from childhood and what mainly engraved preference in his life and aspirations along with his hobby of playing badminton as a child with the two policemen, who assassinated his grandmother, thus complicating the “balance of life” which was created earlier. Dinesh Narayann in Forbes magazine has sardonically mentioned him as Rahul ‘Neelkanth’ Gandhi, a different angle to the speech I suppose. Rahul also spoke about how Sonia Gandhi cautioned him that power is a “poisoned chalice” and advised him about not being attached to it but empowering people by it. He mentioned the various schemes such as the ‘Aadhaar — aam aadmi ka adhikar’, Women self-help groups and Panchayati Raj, being brought by the government. Indeed, after every few minutes I could hear the politicians basically wiping away their moistened eyes. The speech tried to make an impact on people and create hope for tomorrow. The speech was touching but lacked basic content that the public wanted to hear. I would refer to it as an ‘assortment of mixed vegetables with no salt.’
So, can we find real answers from the speech about ways to improve society standards? What bothers me is that even though Rahul Gandhi has made promises for changing the system, infusing better policies and eradicating “outdated rules and irrational red tape”, is all this only a way of setting up the masses into believing in the party and making them ready for the 2014 elections? I’m not against Rahul’s implications but wasn’t he already there in the party when corruption still prevailed and the streets were filled with people, mainly the youth, who wanted justice during the Delhi gang rape in December? He had a say in it then too, didn’t he. Indeed, Rahul managed to pull off the speech quite impressively; the Congress has toughened to newer schemes by providing 30% reservation for women in police force. A wonderful piece was touched by Rahul when he said that the information in the system only reaches the people who are at the top, but does not percolate down till the “aam aadmi”. I guess, Congress has started thinking about the middle class for a change. I just don’t know if it continue even after 2014.
In those 45 minutes, Rahul exposed the mismanagement of recruiting Officers at states without evaluating the demographic implications and conditions, especially the know-how about that state, and talked about keeping more leaders in every state as well as the centre, and changing the election process of voting. Rahul made clear his thoughts about including the youth into politics and not making them feel “alienated from the political class”. Maybe that’s one way of saying that experience is required but youthful stamina and ethos is equally important.
Overall, Rahul’s speech surmounted revelation about the workings of the Indian system. The thing that I really liked was that he exposed them to a certain extent. It was a speech of ambition for India and its people. Even though its content lacked substance, it could still have “a ray of hope.” What we need to see is if he can pull off the promises if ever Congress passes through 2014. After all, only a Gandhi has saved this nation from pitfalls.