'Who benefitted from Pulwama?': Rahul Gandhi should introspect on Delhi polls, slinging conspiracies won't revive Congress' fortunes

Sanjay Singh

On the first anniversary of the Pulwama Terror Attack, the nation expected the political class to stand united in paying tribute to the 40 CRPF soldiers and in taking resolve to counter the menace of cross-border terrorism with all possible might. But Rahul Gandhi had other ideas.

He fired a tweet on Friday morning insinuating what Pakistan propaganda machinery had been unsuccessfully trying to communicate. Read what Rahul Gandhi said in his tweet and then analyse what he possibly wanted to convey, and also assess whether this kind of politics could yield any dividend to Congress.

The former Congress president posed three questions on this sombre occasion: 1. Who benefited the most from the attack? 2. What is the outcome of the inquiry into the attack? 3. Who in the BJP government has yet been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack?"

The counter-question to the most powerful Congress leader is: what did he mean and want the people to believe by asking as to "who benefitted from the attack". He perhaps wouldn't remember, but post the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks nobody, at least from the political class, asked a similar question. That was in 2008 when the UPA I was in power and six months later when the General Elections to the Lok Sabha were held, the UPA returned to power for a second term. Rahul is, perhaps, guided by the belief that Modi returned to power because of the Pulwama attack. He should be mindful of the fact that even if the national mood changed or strengthened in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was not because of the terror attack but because he took a bold decision of conducting surgical and air strike inside Pakistan after the Pulwama and Uri attacks.

Rahul had earlier accused Modi of doing "khoon ki dalali" and asked for proof of the surgical strike and the airstrike. Rahul obviously has his own ideas on "who benefitted" and how. He, however, does not ask who conducted. It is open to one's own wisdom what he wants to say. He clearly is giving a conspiracy spin.

This comes at a time when Congress should have been seriously introspecting about its most humiliating feat in Delhi Assembly elections €" after ruling the National Capital Territory of Delhi for 15 years, the party scored zero for the second consecutive time and its vote percentage went to a negligible below five percent. While most of its social constituency was taken away by Aam Admi Party, a small percentage of its social support base went to the BJP.

He perhaps thinks that his tweets against the Modi government would go down a long way in reviving Congress' fortunes and put him as the principal challenger to Modi. Little does Rahul realise that the Delhi Assembly election has changed the dynamics at least the way the party was received by sections of the media and the so-called liberals €" who traditionally had been supportive of Congress and had also benefitted the most from the party. They are finding a new hero in Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.

It's difficult to say whether or not Rahul is aware of it, but the rank and file of Delhi Congress is extremely upset, even angry, with the central leadership of the party. It's also not known whether the views of the likes of P Chidambaram and Adhir Ranjan Choudhury when they gloated over the BJP's defeat and AAP's stupendous victory were in sync with Rahul and Sonia Gandhi's thought process. But the fact remains is that both Chidambaram and Choudhury are perceived to be very close to the Gandhis.

Sharmistha Mukherjee, chief of the women's wing of Delhi Congress and daughter of former president Pranab Mukherjee, may have been the first one to openly rebut party seniors, going to the extent of saying that if Congress had outsourced the task of defeating BJP to state parties then the party "might as well close shop", but Firstpost has learnt that this is a prevailing sentiment among most of the men and women in Congress who have had sweated it out for the party.

They are reluctant to come out on record, for obvious reasons, but they are as angry with the central leadership of the party. It's no secret that the central leadership or the "high command" of Congress comprises two persons €" party present Sonia Gandhi and her son and former president Rahul Gandhi. With the recent inclusion of Priyanka Gandhi as party general secretary, this number may have gone up to three. For over two decades, the party has been helmed by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

Though Sonia is leading the party, she is not in the best of her health and it seems that her children €" Rahul and Priyanka €" believe that firing tweets in harshest possible language against the incumbent government at the Centre would make people gravitate to them. During their campaign rallies in Delhi, they should have sensed (as Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath said that the Congress workers had sensed Delhi poll outcome much in advance) that their style of politics no longer works.

They should learn some lessons from Kejriwal. The AAP leader had once questioned Modi over the surgical strikes, but shifted gear soon afterwards and supported the abolition of Article 370 in Kashmir and has remained ambivalent on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

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