A real choice in 2014?

Rahul Gandhi proved through his first TV interview was that he is not that leader.

Updated: February 2, 2014 1:57 am

 

Rahul Gandhi proved through his first TV interview was that he is not that leader. Rahul Gandhi proved through his first TV interview was that he is not that leader.

What India needs more than anything today is a leader with a new economic vision. A leader who understands the need to make India count among the richest countries in the world, instead of the poorest. India has every reason to be rich. Few countries in the world have been blessed with all the resources needed to create prosperity on a mass scale, but India has remained incapable of providing even drinking water to its people because of bad economic policies and a stunted, shabby idea of our place in the world.

So we need a new kind of leader after the next general election. And, sadly what Rahul Gandhi proved through his first TV interview was that he is not that leader. What he proved is that he has more interest in reviving the Congress than in reviving India and that he is a strong supporter of what has come to be known disparagingly as ‘Sonianomics’.

This has, in the opinion of your humble columnist, taken the Indian economy down to almost rock bottom. It is based not on making Indians rich but on throwing largesse in the direction of the poor.

So if you are an Indian living below the poverty line, under a government that has failed to provide you with clean water, sanitation, healthcare and schools, you can bring cheer to your miserable life by collecting your rations of cheap food grain. And you can consider yourself privileged to have the legal rights to information, education and a hundred days of work a year. Of course, if you are desperately poor, you will not have access to the justice system but, what the hell, be grateful for the fact that Sonia Gandhi and her son care more for you than they do for the rich.

If Rahul’s long interview is any indication of how he thinks, then it is clear that he shares his mother’s vision. Other than a hint that he has grasped that India has missed becoming a manufacturing hub, everything he said was about “empowering” the poor and the voiceless. Noble ideas but not possible with just noblesse oblige. What is needed are massive investments in schools, healthcare, rural infrastructure and the creation of jobs. The solutions devised by Sonia’s National Advisory Council to these problems have proved less than adequate, but Rahul babbled on about RTI, MNREGA as if they were revolutionary ideas. They are not.

So does Narendra Modi offer us an alternative economic vision? Let us be clear that the BJP certainly does not. But to hear Modi talk about using urbanisation as an opportunity not a challenge came as music to my jaded ears. Modi talks of the need to invest in tourism as a tool of economic change. Our poorest states are those with the greatest potential to attract tourists but have done nothing to do this because in their bleak, socialist vision, tourism is seen as a frivolity for rich people. Actually the infrastructure that is built to attract tourists becomes a permanent asset for the poorest citizens.

Modi in his speech to BJP workers on January 19 made it clear that he was against “dole, dole, dole” and that what he believed in instead was development and changing methods of governance to make delivery systems more effective. He described the next election as being one that will bring “hope and change”, and asked to be given 60 months to show what he could do compared to the 60 years that Indian voters have given the Congress.

Rahul also talked of change, but only in the context of changing a mysterious “system” that he charged even with killing his father and grandmother. What is this system? He said it was this system that distributed tickets at election time behind closed doors and the change he was trying to bring in 15 constituencies was a new system of primaries.
Before saying this publicly, he could have had a quiet word with Mummy and learned that when it comes to giving out tickets, she is the supreme boss. Not a single person in the Congress would dare challenge her on this without risking expulsion and the end of a political career.

So we seem to have two distinct ideas of what the next general election has to offer. Does Modi believe enough in his vision to combat his own party that has faithfully supported all of Sonia’s economic ideas in the past 10 years? It’s hard to say, but he deserves a chance. If you are wondering why I have not mentioned the Aam Aadmi Party factor, it is because I do not believe that Arvind Kejriwal is in the running to become India’s next prime minister. Lucky for India because his economic ideas are statist, leftist and doomed to fail. They have before.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

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  1. B
    BigB
    Feb 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm
    Sorry, what are you saying here? What happened in 2004?
    Reply
    1. B
      BigB
      Feb 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm
      Very well said Mam. One opinion I have agreed to in a long time.
      Reply
      1. R
        Rama
        Feb 4, 2014 at 5:00 am
        Excellent discourse. we desperately need a mive change and only Narendra Modi talks of concrete plans and all others are talking of how to stop Modi on his tracks.
        Reply
        1. G
          Guest
          Feb 3, 2014 at 1:03 am
          why r my comments being deleted.give me 1 sane reason
          Reply
          1. G
            Guest
            Feb 3, 2014 at 1:03 am
            why r my comments being deleted.give me 1 sane reason
            Reply
            1. B
              bmniac
              Feb 23, 2014 at 8:47 am
              We had hi, Nehru, Indira, Rajiv and Sonia. hi started the problems with his support for Khilafat and indiscipline called satyagraha(a monster now) Nehru brought us to ruin by his socialism and permit raj. Crruption took root with India ans flowered under Sonia. I agree we have no first rate leader. But anything better than a country run by a kleptomaniac family!
              Reply
              1. C
                C.
                Feb 2, 2014 at 11:24 am
                If you are so ashamed of subsidies buy gas at 1200 rather than 400. Will you Ms. Singh
                Reply
                1. R
                  Rushabh
                  Feb 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm
                  Ahmedabad City just won the prestigious BSUP award for providing the best urban housing to the poor...anything else you've got to say?
                  Reply
                  1. G
                    guest
                    Feb 3, 2014 at 8:37 am
                    Exactly - UPA II is going to leave an empty treasury and broken down government instutions - the Congis are busy looting the treasury with both hands in the last few months of their 'rule' for their next seven generations to enjoy - the're sure they won't be getting another chance in the forseeable future !! Also, UPA II is indulging in a 'Scorched Earth Policy' - destroy, loot and distribute (as handouts for votes) everything, in order to ensure that the next government would fail ! One wonders if our version of democracy breeds TRAITORS who would gladly go against our nation and its people for their selfish gains (votes, power black money, etc.).
                    Reply
                    1. G
                      guest
                      Feb 3, 2014 at 8:37 am
                      Exactly - UPA II is going to leave an empty treasury and broken down government instutions - the Congis are busy looting the treasury with both hands in the last few months of their 'rule' for their next seven generations to enjoy - the're sure they won't be getting another chance in the forseeable future !! Also, UPA II is indulging in a 'Scorched Earth Policy' - destroy, loot and distribute (as handouts for votes) everything, in order to ensure that the next government would fail ! One wonders if our version of democracy breeds TRAITORS who would gladly go against our nation and its people for their selfish gains (votes, power black money, etc.).
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        anonymouskar
                        Feb 3, 2014 at 6:34 am
                        2002 - Modi, 2004 - Rahul. 2 years difference, that's all
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          anonymouskar
                          Feb 3, 2014 at 6:34 am
                          2002 - Modi, 2004 - Rahul. 2 years difference, that's all
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            anonymouskar
                            Feb 3, 2014 at 6:35 am
                            2oo2 M0d!. 2oo4 RG, 2 years difference, that's all
                            Reply
                            1. J
                              JSJ
                              Feb 3, 2014 at 6:23 am
                              still better than the other options out there. People like you have to stop expecting charity from private business. If you were in Adani's place you would do that same - everyone would. Bottomline is that he is STILL needed as he provides SOME economic activity versus none at all if you remain stuck up about it.
                              Reply
                              1. J
                                JSJ
                                Feb 3, 2014 at 6:23 am
                                still better than the other options out there. People like you have to stop expecting charity from private business. If you were in Adani's place you would do that same - everyone would. Bottomline is that he is STILL needed as he provides SOME economic activity versus none at all if you remain stuck up about it.
                                Reply
                                1. J
                                  jodharora
                                  Feb 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm
                                  May I suggest Tavleen ji to read editorial of Tribune and make a comment.
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    M S
                                    Feb 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm
                                    The corrupt congress is excellent in looting the country thru scams, the latest loot being in the Augusta deal of helicopters.
                                    Reply
                                    1. M
                                      M S
                                      Feb 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm
                                      Yes NaMo needs to be a given a chance to develop India and for this first the people need to give him full majority to rule without problems.
                                      Reply
                                      1. M
                                        Mahi Kumari
                                        Feb 2, 2014 at 10:51 am
                                        Conress vice president Rahul hi is youth leader, Indian youth loves him from his heart so no need for paid PR
                                        Reply
                                        1. K
                                          Komal Tanwar
                                          Feb 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm
                                          Real choice of 2014 is Rahul hi only country don't want a Feku as PM
                                          Reply
                                          1. M
                                            Mahak Madhu
                                            Feb 7, 2014 at 12:28 am
                                            sure, go ahead and do it. What we expect from a crippled thinking person like you? who can think of only Rahul and Modi but not India. What is the big deal of giving one chance to Modi and if you don't like it, vote him out in 2019 but he definitely deserves a chance.. But we have many people in India who think and talk like RG ( i will refrain from calling him pappu) .and don't care for scams and corruption. Let them loot the country and you survive on food bill.
                                            Reply
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