By Sushil Kutty
The good news is that the Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has gone so ‘low’ that he can only go ‘high’ from now on. Sarma comparing Rahul Gandhi to Saddam Hussein is straight out of the book of the absurd. First, Saddam was married and had sons. Second, Saddam didn’t have a dog to answer the “Piddy” call. Three, Rahul Gandhi is on a 3570 km long Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Four, Prime Minister Sarma’s black grouse is with ‘Piddy’ the dog that ate his biscuits, and has been Rahul’s dog for years. Why try to pay ‘Piddy’ back through Rahul with a quid pro quo? No political party should have a prime minister with a vindictive side.
Rahul Gandhi is not the Iraqi dictator’s “Xerox”. He’s never had a reason to hide in a hole in the ground. At most, he disappeared on trips abroad when he thought no one was watching. Who cares, every man is entitled to a vacation every now and then.
That Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is taking the political rivalry this far smacks of hardcore hatred. What if tomorrow someone from Congress calls Sarma and asks “why Himanta started looking like Changez Khan minus Khan’s tousled moustache”?
You see, two can play the game, it’s not like Himanta has a lien on all things sporty. Rahul’s beard is his to grow and tend, not Himanta Biswa Sarma’s to play politics with. Besides, why make the rude remark at a public gathering in Ahmedabad?
Now a bona fide prime minister is called a “little troll,” which is a first in prime minister history. Congress is rightly outraged. More so, because Himanta Biswa Sarma happens to be an ex-student of the Congress School of Politics, who took his first political baby steps while clinging to Congress clothes.
Congress’s sharp response was the least aggressive the party could strike back with. It will take some time for Sarma to wash off the “little troll” blemish. It can’t be that the spirit of Veer Savarkar entered Sarma’s head and made him lose his grip on his loose tongue. Below the belt is not a sign of courage.
The best heard and best spoken tongues are those with a backbone. To say, “If you have to change the look, at least make it like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel or even Jawaharlal Nehru. It’s better if it looks like Gandhiji. But why is your face turning into Saddam Hussein?” is indeed petty.
And then to pair Rahul’s unruly beard with Saddam’s mud-spattered beard and talk about “congress culture and Indian folk”! What does Sarma mean when he says “Their culture is closer to people who have never understood India”? Whose culture, the culture of the Iraqi people, dating back to Hammurabi and Solomon, and Hammurabi’s code of law?
Himanta Biswa Sarma should spontaneously ask for forgiveness if he is to remain a role model for the Assamese, who, the majority of them, are not rioters with their tongues. The question is asked whether Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has so upset the BJP that BJP leaders can’t shut up, forget their ground.
Congress actually got the better of Sarma and his loose tongue. The clean-shaven Sarma should take a cue and grow a beard. And then take a walk from one end of India to the other end of India, so that people can hold on to his words as people hold on to Rahul Gandhi’s hands.
Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodi Yatra is currently in Madhya Pradesh on his way to Rajasthan, where discord is brewing with Sachin Pilot who is crossing swords with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and wants to oust Gehlot. The Gujjar community of pilots can’t wait for Pilot to become Chief Minister now that Ashok Gehlot’s magic is on the wane.
The message for the Congress is that Bharat Jodi Yatra has a dampening effect on the Bharatiya Janata Party. Supporters for Congress are rooting everywhere, even as it rejuvenates the party from the ground up. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked about a silent congress campaign and the house-to-house campaign of the grand old party in Gujarat.
As one political analyst put it, it’s the tortoise and the hare all over again with the dog added to the timeless story. If Modi and Arvind Kejriwal are hare and hound, Rahul Gandhi is the slow but steady tortoise. In the story, the turtle is the victor! (IPA service)
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