Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is once again at the receiving end of stinging barbs on social media for urging the United States of America to intervene in India's domestic affairs and questioned America’s ‘silence over what is happening in India’.
The former Congress president made these remarks in an interactive virtual conversation with former US Under Secretary of State and Harvard University professor Nicholas Burns.
Rahul Gandhi claimed that there had been a ‘wholesale capture of institutions’ in India by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government which did not let Opposition parties operate with ease in the country.
"I don’t hear anything from the US establishment about what’s happening in India. If you are saying partnership of democracies, I mean... what is your view on what is going on here?" he said.
"I fundamentally believe that America is a profound idea. The idea of freedom the way it is encapsulated in your Constitution is a very powerful idea, but you have got to defend that idea. That is the real question," he added.
His remarks assume sinister overtones on so many levels. First of all, the Congress party is currently beleaguered electorally as well as beset with internal fissures. Not only has the Congress badly lost the last two Lok Sabha polls, it has copped pasting in a host of states as well.
Many of its prominent leaders have left the party due to plummeting fortunes of the party and apathetic attitude of the top leadership.
For the last six months, a group of Congress leaders — dubbed 'G-23' by the media — has been snapping at Gandhi family's heels demanding accountability and democracy within the party.
In the current state, even the most die hard Congress supporters concede that the party is not in the position to challenge the incumbent Narendra Modi government.
Unable to win elections and swiftly sinking the state of the party, Gandhi is now seen to indulge in murky games by asking foreign countries to undermine Prime Minister Modi. What he completely forgets is that India, irrespective of whichever party is in the power, has always resisted foreign intervention in its domestic affairs.
Even Rahul’s grandmother, late Indira Gandhi, when she was prime minister, took the US administration head on during the 1971 Bangladesh war. Then US president Richard Nixon had made a host of nasty, sexist and uncharitable comments against her. And as history shows, US intervention — from Vietnam to Afghanistan — has only destabilized those countries and triggered protracted conflict.
India anyway, under the stewardship of Prime Minister Modi, has emerged as a powerful nation globally and will not brook any intervention.
Right now India needs a vibrant and responsible Opposition which raises valid questions on policy issues and holds the government at Centre responsible.
Rahul needs to work diligently in rebuilding the party and also shoring up his tattered credibility. That takes a lot of doing and the Gandhi scion seems incapable of measuring up to the task.
The irresponsible and ill-advised comments by him would only further offend the young, confident and ambitious Indians.
Rahul, as hard as it appears, needs to grow up and put his nose to the grindstone.