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Lok Sabha polls: Keeping Rahul in the ivory box of ‘collective responsibility’

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With the Congress staring at a defeat in Lok Sabha polls 2014, party leaders have begun the oft repeated exercise – deflecting blame from the first family of the party.

Senior party leader and union minister Kamal Nath said that it was the government that failed not Rahul Gandhi.

Nath explained the position saying that Rahul Gandhi was never part of the government and the results – if they turn out to be as bad as predicted by exit polls – would be a reflection of people’s perception of government’s functioning.

The government failed to communicate its pro-people policies, he said.

Party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed came out in strong defence of Rahul Gandhi, saying the responsibility (for the possible defeat) would be taken collectively.

“Rahul Gandhi is not in the government. He is the number two in the party. Sonia Gandhi is the party president. And, naturally, there is the local leadership. So, it is all collective,” he said.
Another senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh too had eulogised the predicament facing the party on similar lines. The party lost the battle of perception because the top leadership was “not communicative”, he had said.

The propensity among Congressmen to turn ‘Yes Men’ and rush to shield the family from any blame has been a regular feature of the manner in which the grand old party functions. Best described in one word – sycophancy.

They should at least take cue from the man in the eye of the storm – Rahul Gandhi. “I fought, so it is my responsibility (for what happened),” Rahul had said after the Congress failed to make inroads into Uttar Pradesh in the assembly polls.

And, Rahul may very well take the blame this time as well and vow to rebuild the party – only if his advisor saw sense in him taking the blame to eventually come out stronger.

Rahul led the party’s poll campaign and had taken credit for the all the ‘Rights’ the UPA government empowered the common man with. He is also the party’s vice president and tipped to take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi in near future.

Rahul is a leader of the party, in fact ‘the leader’ for the Congress of future unless there’s no surprise claimant from within the family.

Humility has never harmed anyone’s image and it won’t harm Rahul if he owes up responsibility for the poll loss (if exit polls turn out to be true).

And the Congress need not look far for inspiration. After the drubbing in the 1989 Lok Sabha polls, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in a televised speech, said, “The people have given their verdict. In all humility, we respect the verdict.”

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