Split wide open
It seems the post-poll despondency has pushed Congress towards a psychotic in-fighting that could only weaken its much diminished stance as a political opposition in Parliament. With two of its most vocal and erudite leaders, Shashi Tharoor and Mani Shankar Aiyar, wrangling over the reinterpretation of Modi, the grand old party has touched a new low, albeit now in stupefying public glare. The controversy in brief involved a gushing piece by Tharoor in an American online publication, which talked of the prime minister’s transformation from a hate figure to someone who is ‘conciliatory and inclusive in both his pronouncements and his actions.’ Tharoor dubbed this new avatar Modi 2.0, which he lauded without holding back and defended his statements in public with compensatory tweets and media bytes. Yet, what got Aiyar’s goat was not only how Tharoor trumpeted his rediscovery of an amicable statesman in Modi, it was also about this fellow St Stephen’s College alumnus appreciating the son of a former tea vendor, whom the Congress veteran deemed fit, not too many days back, to serve tea at the AICC office in Delhi.
It is incredible how the Congress, ineffectual and having lost its century-old grandeur, is resorting to settling cheap scores in public, without batting an eyelid about the possible consequences of this idiotic bickering for the state of the opposition. While Tharoor can go about insisting on ‘nuances’ of his recondite opinion piece, he should remember how his previous utterances have been thrown asunder landing him in despicable situations. Moreover, the Thiruvananthapuram MP’s ‘gaze shift’ could be attributed to his propensity to jump the guns himself, since Modi, the most astute political warrior that India has seen in years, has displayed the old habit of riding on divisiveness until it works and switching over to political civility when it matters without much of an ethical problem. That said, Aiyar’s vicious response to Tharoor’s, shall we say, ‘premature lionising’ of Narendra Modi, is easily the worse of the crimes. Evidently, Aiyar refuses to learn from his earlier mistakes which cost Congress dear. His residual snobbery is only going to alienate the already doddering and meek opposition that Congress can hope to put up in a heavily Modified Parliament.