AMITABH SRIVASTAVA | 13 NOVEMBER, 2017
Amitabh Srivastava rounds up this week's latest political gossip.
Will December be as pleasant as November?
The way the Congress campaign has been going in Gujarat so far raise hopes of a miracle in December when the state goes to polls. Will the party be able to break the jinx of its continuous defeat for over two decades?
Surprisingly the media has been very kind to Rahul Gandhi, the most reluctant leader of the country after say JP.
The non charitable among us will say that there is a general disenchantment in the entire country against Narendra Modi whose rosy promises seem to be becoming his Achilles heel. The opposition keeps reminding him about his promise of bringing the black money stashed abroad and of putting 15 Lakh in every Indians account.
But that's really uncharitable to the most mocked politician of the country both by the BJP but also by the social media which have created the image of a man who can never do or speak anything right.
One must remember that this is the first time Rahul Gandhi is taking the whole campaign on his shoulders single-handedly. And that too in a state which has produced the two most powerful netas of this era- Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
There was a certain sympathy both among voters and the party for Sonia Gandhi who did bring the Congress back to life after it had almost been wiped out from the political map of the country but her failing health has kept her out of the fight this time around.
The kind of response Rahul Gandhi has been getting in Gujarat is also creditable after the crushing defeat the party suffered in Uttar Pradesh where he had tried to forge a very positive campaign with Akhilesh Yadav and even involved his wife Dimple to show that youngsters and women had a huge role in his vision of the future.
A lot of credit for this must of course go to his campaign managers who have made his tweets more popular than Modi's for the first time.
And once all these props are given their due one must give some credit to Rahul for the strategy that he has worked out which has attracted even the hard bargainer youth leader Hardik Patel and other local leaders to his camp.
Even though straws in the wind do indicate a change in the mood of the country (Chitakoot result in MP should mean something) . It might be too much to expect the Congress to form the government in Gujarat but maybe it is time for a miracle. And what better place to begin the change than Gujarat.
Kejriwal deserves much better
If anyone in this country can take instant decisions for the people without thinking of whose interest it hurts, the crown goes to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
He is a much mellowed man today slapped with damages and law suits by Fiancé Minister Arun Jaitley and some of his own detractors within the party like Kapil Misra who is getting full support from outside for his tirades.
Come to think of it, one does not understand why Kapil Misra is out of the Aam Aadmi Party. His style and tone of making wild allegations puts him in the same block as his mentor Kejriwal himself. But that's a mystery that may not open just like the role of Amar Singh in the last UP elections.
The way the Delhi CM took charge of the situation after pollution levels had reached dangerous proportions in the capital to take drastic measures only won him more supporters at least on the social media.
Some of our own tribe of the scribes who had conveniently joined the Modi camp including a former editor , were all shouting and cheering Kejriwal to go ahead and implement the odd even scheme.
The fact that ultimately the National Green Tribunal which had raised questions about its effectiveness also fell in line means a lot. That the pollution levels came down significantly and the scheme was abandoned is another matter. But for the common man Kejriwal once again stood out like a hero, ready to take charge.
Making wild allegations in this country and getting away with it is not difficult the defamation and libel laws being the way they are but those who are blaming Kejriwal alone for this have just to check the records of the last four years to find out that this was the flavour the people had liked when Anna Hazare had launched his anti corruption movement.
Even Kiran Bedi who had enthusiastically participated in the movement that was telecast live from the Ramlila Ground and Jantar Mantar into every Indian home would remember how she had mocked the parliamentarians at that time.
It was this movement and the naming of the list of the alleged corrupt ministers which became the fodder for the BJP juggernaut that steam rolled the Congress and the UPA under it to propel Modi and Amit Shah to where they are today.
But the difference is that those ministers did not take Kejriwal and company to court for making those unproved allegations while Jaitley made it a prestige issue.
The result is that like Ibsen's play 'The enemy of the people' the man who was hailed as the biggest whistle blower in Indian politics ended up being painted as a politician who only speaks in hyperbole.
However Kejriwal still maintains an unblemished public record (which is nearly impossible with the Modi government using all Sam dam Dand Bhed to wipe out its political opponents) and his commitment to the cause of the common man places him above every living politician.
Khichdi in the South
And now moving South it is really intriguing to guess the next move of two super stars Kamal Haasan and Rajnikant who have declared their intent to join politics , emulating the likes of MGR and Jayalalitha to encash their popularity with the masses.
Many filmi celebrities in the north including Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Sunil Dutt, Hema Malini, Govinda, Vinod Khanna and Babul Supriyo tried to do this but not many could reach spectacular heights as the stars in the South.
Others like Anupam Kher are happy to pitch in as heads of Sarkari institutes without the risk of contesting elections which really puts the popularity of a person to the litmus test. Govinda gave up very soon and Amitabh Bachchan's popularity came down to its lowest after his victory from Allahabad and he is on record as telling this writer that he was not meant for politics.
But the voters in the south seem to be taking their heart throbs a bit too seriously and their screen image seems to merge with their political persona effortlessly.
That poses both a challenge and an opportunity , as they say, to the latest entrants to the political arena Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan.
All eyes are on them since the demise of Jayalalithaa has left a huge gap in the South which they are tying to encash on.
But will they?
In the highly polarised scenario of today it all depends on which side they chose. That the BJP will make the life of their opponents hell is something they will have to contend with.
Will they join hands to work together or become the eternal foes like Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi is something the people would be watching with as much interest as they have watched their blockbusters.
Watch out for this space for the next bulletin!