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Rahul’s rhetoric vs UPA’s reality

Rahul Gandhi’s idea of 21st century India, that of a ‘beehive’ than an elephant, is a remarkable observation, capturing the essence of the nation as it stands now. In his rousing speech to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Gandhi scion put across succinctly what may academicians, experts and policymakers have been striving to define for over a decade now. The metaphor of a beehive is not only apt, but also resonating with the verve that our 1.2 billion strong country is buzzing with, as it tries to make sense out of the critical political and economic chaos after ten years of UPA regime. The vice president of the Congress party and a potential prime minister in waiting, Rahul Gandhi’s reaching out to India Inc is, to some extent, symptomatic of his efforts at bridging the gap between the corporate sector and the ruling party, particularly in the wake of a resurgent Narendra Modi, the blue-eyed-boy of the business classes. Rahul’s rebuttal to Modi’s ‘industry-friendly’ policies and public courtship with the sector was that growth cannot be exclusive and true development cannot leave out the marginalised and disenfranchised, such as the women, the Muslims, the Dalits, the tribals and other minority communities. In stark contrast with Modi’s emphasis on efficiency and governance, Rahul pitched for honing the enormous human capital that can proudly boast of, as he stressed on education, training and investment in the collective as opposed to improving the lifestyle of members of a particular class or religious affiliation.

However, what can get lost in the resultant din of uncritical applause from all quarters of the Indian media and industry is that there is a gaping chasm between what the Gandhi scion told the CII representatives and what the reality of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government happens to be. Despite his pleas for inclusion and holistic growth, UPA-II is sitting on a mountain of corruption scams and scandals, which are of such staggering proportions that any talk of inclusivity, coming from the Congress top brass, rings hollow. While Rahul tackled allegations that the ‘two power centres’ arrangement has not produced desired results by saying that power must not be concentrated in one person, the fact of the matter is that Congress remain one of the most dynasty-friendly parties in India, serving the causes of not only the Gandhi-Nehru family, but also regional satraps who want to see their sons and daughters take over the rein from themselves. The so-called flagship policies of UPA government, such as MGNREGA, are now under scanner for massive money laundering, with other bills such as Women’s Reservation, Land Acquisition etc still not seeing the light of the day due to deep-seated antipathy towards women and backward classes. In the light of UPA’s track record, Rahul’s rabble-rousing is nothing more than well-put pre-election rhetoric with little actual substance.
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