Fifth Column: Future planning

Rahul is back with an ideology: Nehruvian Socialism.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Updated: May 3, 2015 12:10 am
column, sunday column, Rahul Gandhi, Rahul's vacation, Nehruvian Socialism, Capitalism, Congress, Indian, Hindu rate, licence raj, P V Narasimha Rao, Dr Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul’s Mummyji, Narendra Modi, Parivartan, Vikas In every speech since he came home, he has attacked the Modi government for representing only the interests of “a handful of capitalists”.

We do not know yet where Rahul Gandhi went on his secret vacation. What we do know is that he has come back with an ideology: Nehruvian Socialism. In every speech since he came home, he has attacked the Modi government for representing only the interests of “a handful of capitalists”. And in every speech he has accused the government of being against farmers and workers.

Having begun my journalistic career in Nehruvian socialist times, when Nehru’s daughter was imposing a licence raj on private enterprise, I find Rahul’s speeches ominously familiar. They revive memories of a time when India was mocked for its ‘Hindu rate of growth’ and for being a land of ‘starving millions’. Sadly true because Nehruvian socialism succeeded in keeping most Indians very, very poor for a very long time.

Then when India went broke in 1991, a Congress prime minister was forced to end the licence raj and encourage private enterprise, and it was this that led to the creation of a middle class now estimated at over 300 million. But middle-class people do not like dynasties and democratic feudalism, and so P V Narasimha Rao was virtually disowned by the Dynasty for making policies that created middle classes. Next time around, Sonia Gandhi chose Dr Manmohan Singh as her prime minister. Had he been allowed to make economic policy, India may today have been a very different country. But his boss (Rahul’s Mummyji) chose to enforce her policies instead. These caused the economy to collapse and the Congress party faced its worst defeat ever in the 2014 elections.

Young, aspirational Indians no longer wanted talk of poverty and poverty alleviation. They preferred to hear about hope and prosperity. This is why Narendra Modi’s message of ‘vikas’ and ‘parivartan’ was so compelling. Nobody understands better the flaws of Nehruvian socialism than ‘the poor’. They who are forced to rely on the State for schools, healthcare, electricity and clean water. They know that these are areas in which Nehruvian socialism failed abysmally. But, perhaps only guess that there was as much poverty in India when Nehru’s tenure ended as prime minister as when it began. The same is true of his daughter’s reign, despite that promise of ‘gareebi hatao’.
Nehruvian socialism failed spectacularly to provide Indians their most basic needs. But, wherever Rahul went on his mysterious holiday of introspection, they clearly did not teach him any history, so he probably does not know this. He now wanders about the countryside in the company of his caboodle of political princelings promising to bring back an economic idea that he thinks will make him prime minister in 2019. Even as someone who believes that Nehruvian socialism has done India immeasurable harm, I am delighted that this is the road he has taken. This is because the Modi government needs to start hearing alarm bells.

Since he became Prime Minister, there has been almost no talk of ‘parivartan’ or ‘vikas’ from Modi. Instead he has taken to talking about ‘the poor’ in much the same way as Congress leaders always have. Other than the abolition of the Planning Commission, there have been no economic reforms. He promises that India will become the easiest country in the world for business but nothing has really changed in his government’s behaviour except in small ways. Reform in education and healthcare policies is desperately needed and there are no signs of new policies. And in vital economic ministries, dealing with such important things as energy, there are no signs of change.

The Prime Minister appears to have not noticed either that his ministers have fallen into that deceptive complacency that living in a Lutyens bungalow immediately induces. So there have been no changes in the hated VIP culture or in matters of making governance more user-friendly. As for explaining why we need to move away from Nehruvian socialism, the Prime Minister appears not to even want to go there. This is a big mistake because then the Congress party will surely succeed in convincing voters that ‘parivartan’ and ‘vikas’ were just empty promises. Rahul Gandhi has already announced that there will never be any ‘make in India’.

In opposing everything that the Modi government is doing, the Congress seems to be working towards a new five-year-plan. It is a negative plan whose purpose is to ensure that economic growth remains slow, that farmers remain mired in subsistence farming and that no jobs get created for the 12 million young Indians who enter the job market every year. The ultimate objective is to ensure that Modi has no chance of winning another five-year term. There is method in this plan. Those who made it seem aware that if Rahul Gandhi has to wait till 2024, it could be too late for him and the Dynasty.

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@ tavleen_singh

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  1. A
    Amol
    May 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm
    Writer is biased,may be she is fan of Mr. Modi and Capitalism. She only speak about failure of Nehruvian socialism. If failed, then why that model failed to achieve targets didnot mention. And gave solution of Capitalistic ideology. If you dont digout the mistake or weakness till you can not solve the actual problem.If socialism model failed, contemporary oppostion party are also equal responsible with Congress.
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      Amol
      May 4, 2015 at 6:47 am
      My reply is not in comments box, why? How much time need for moderator check? And why my content is check by moderator? means if same thing done by government then it is encroachment of freedom of speech. Then what about Indian Express? I know freedom of speech is qualified right not absolute. But is it right?
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        hayatlives
        May 3, 2015 at 1:02 pm
        pressute of the BJP...as is obvious from all her columns
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          hayatlives
          May 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm
          there you go.. another rant against congress, sonia , rahul...frankly its getting a bit tiring... the personal attacks are so obvious that its disgustng...grow up Tavleen ji and stop worrying about Mummyji....you are way out of your depth...
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            Jaggu
            May 3, 2015 at 2:11 am
            Tavleen is a rabid hater like susu swamy...we are bored of read such stupid arguments again and again...she should grow up at least now
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            1. C
              Comm.Y.K.
              May 4, 2015 at 3:14 am
              China is not a socialist country,it is absolute capitalism disguised as communism and 101 % dictatorship,and I am saying based on ground level information by actual experience of China
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              1. J
                JJ
                May 3, 2015 at 4:27 am
                Tavleen Singh's spectacular lack of history of India is as spectacular is as her blind hatred of his. If Nehru's daughter had not ended monopolistic anti prolate policies of banks and industries when Indira hi nationalized them, India wouldn't have gotten to where it is today - like China sometime of Government intervention and control was required to give the poor of India access to services and to end feudalistic practices so modernism was possible. She was too busy being rich to know these facts! And is now being too angry to be objective!!
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                1. Z
                  Zina
                  May 4, 2015 at 1:50 am
                  Tavleen, Did you touch a nerve?
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                  1. S
                    student
                    May 3, 2015 at 10:44 am
                    Here she goes ... Nehru ,Indira , Sonia and Rahul hi, the dynasty.. Again and again, I think even in 2024 writer will be criticizing the same people. Such writing is best suited for TOI not Indian Express.
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                      AARAAM
                      May 3, 2015 at 7:54 am
                      Let us accept a few axioms. 1. When a Slogan like, "Garibi Hatao", is floated, what is needed( in perpetuity?) =GARIBI! That is what all members of Nehru-hi( Is it hey?) family want. 2. How to be opposition party? = Go on opposing anything and everything to be 'opposing' party! 3. How to be in limelight for a long, long time? = Create Headlines or, be the headline and our Media likes such individuals. 4. How intelligent are our citizens?= They are till an election approaches to switch sides or, as in the case of TN, sell themselves to highest bidder! 5. Do Indians understand false promises of politicians at all?( example = a woman say, by name Kalavathi) = I admit it; I don't know and can't answer!
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                        Ajit Manek
                        May 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm
                        Indian Express. When we try to post reply to some of the views expressed by the readers, the comment does not get saved. Instead it asks to try again. Can you please ask your IT developers to fix the problem?
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                          Ajit Manek
                          May 3, 2015 at 11:48 am
                          Truth is often times a bitter pill. And if we are not to loose the focus, we must always check the comp and see where we are going. We need to keep reminding ourselves that we do not loose track of our mission. Mummyji and Rahulji will never understand the modern day economics. It is not in their genes. Mummyji was coached in the old school of Nehruvian socialism by one of the most over rated prime ministers of India. Mummyji has ped on that school of thought to Rahulji. If the dynasty is to continue in power, the slaves must be given crumbs of comfort in the times of crisis. Rest of the times, they can be fed on slogans. This mindset needs to change. The message needs to be hammered in the indian mindset that the song, lyrics and the singer have ped their ' by date'. No one is indispensable. Modern India needs modern solutions and that means letting go of the old ways of doing things. Mummyji and beteji need to be taken head on because when the chips are down all that matters is who won the game. India must win. Dynasties are not important.
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                            A
                            May 3, 2015 at 8:15 am
                            Bogunvilleas do not have smell. Similarly Congress socialism does not bring improvement in the standard of living of the people. It gives the various scamsters to mint money at the cost of suffering millions. Do you want that to happen again then choose your leader as intelligent as pappu
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                              Arun Sharma
                              May 3, 2015 at 12:48 pm
                              As entire opposition is of socialist leaning, BJP' s any attempt for radical change will boomerang election wise. The public want prosperity but not by any radical change as it hurts them in the process. So every one wants economic progress but with maintaining status quo. So if he brings radical change, he will loose elections in states and he does not do it, he will loose next Union election. Public is to be blamed for it. We accept change only when driven to wall. Now, Modi or no Modi, any government will ensure all small incremental changes only for better economic growth and simplification of system as these are the demand of time and any thing different they can not afford. Again who knows, currently BJP is busy in filling their coffers got emptied in running several past elections and after it is full they may unleash reforms or they feel that Rahul will be silent after steaming off all energy gained recently if goes like this. Or BJP need to find another old till now buried scam to fore to beat congress. Modi is not worried as he has reached to the level where other BJP leaders despite so much efforts and spending several years in Delhi could not reach.
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                                arun.k
                                May 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm
                                True. The confess party is master in fooling people and they don't have any plan to uplifting poor& farmers.They just creating vote banks.They don't want to India prosper.
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                                  A.Murali Krishna
                                  May 3, 2015 at 10:29 am
                                  India will miss a great chance to acquire a reasonable spot in the world. With a vast pool of talents, it is India's finest hour to strike back. Madam Singh is right that future plan of Congress is dangerous. Today either at central or state, ruling party is never given peaceful movements. Arun Shourie's criticism is valid. Reforms shall have brought by Midi. Land acquisition shall be left to states. Whatever way the bill, politicians will make money in land deals. They will be the beneficiaries irrespective of land bill's shape and its contents. Example is two groups of political parties fought for Bengaluru airport and both groups acquired land in different directions. One group succeeded in locating at Bangalore north, but project suffered 10 years of delay and cost escalation. Socialism can not improve the condition of mes. It keeps people and nation in eternal poverty. Urgent steps are needed otherwise, opposition will come and develop scams, illegal money, black money, dynasties of all varieties of parivar, illogical distribution of natural reserves, and all wrong actions. Shourie gave a wake up call and Madam Singh is cautioning in her own style.
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                                    bharath
                                    May 5, 2015 at 11:45 pm
                                    You could not have said it better. It is impossible that someone / one party is the source of all evil, and another party is the source of all goodness. To position it in that manner, is simply an exercise in self-delusion, at best, and deliberate skulduggery at worst.
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                                      bharath
                                      May 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm
                                      The author is well within her rights to criticize Rahul hi for his and the Congress' policies (and there appears valid grounds for criticism). But the moment she brings into her views, words like 'Rahul's mummyji', the article appears jaundiced by personal likes and dislikes, and no longer remains 'professional'. The entire article's views, then seem suspect and prejudiced, leaving one to wonder about the author's motives and her credibility.
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                                        Hariom
                                        May 2, 2015 at 11:05 pm
                                        In each and every article Tavleenji talks about soniya,Rahul & Congress. People have already punished them for their non doings. Now it's for So called Vikas Purush's turn to act rather than simply talking. Tavleenji should advise her Boss to check the ground realitu. The so called Vikas purush, 56 inch chest man loosing his shine day by day. PM is running the same policies that of previous Govt just by changing the name. It is indeed a wake up call for PM. Otherwise people will say,"Pappu can dance".
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                                          Jerome Cruz
                                          May 3, 2015 at 1:17 am
                                          Tavleen has the most comfortable job criticise every thing & spin a story around it invariably invovling hi family. I would ask reader has she being , as she claims, in journalist for donkey years , ever suggested something which was devoid of criticism. Before I sound like her , we would like to ask her next what is wrong in the opposition to new land bill in the context of large scale suicide by farmer or atleast the perception of it
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                                            Damaru Prasad
                                            May 3, 2015 at 9:47 am
                                            The tale of India is similar to that of Nepal insofar as Modi has surprisingly failed to see that changes begin, leave alone take effect. We in Nepal used to blame King Shah for changes not happening before 1990. But surprisingly things did not change after he was removed as executive chief, with prime ministers coming and going. Now a year gone by, Modi has changed his looks but India losing patience, and surprise of all surprises, Pappu is a campaigner for poor. This is a big joke. And writer has pointed out the underlying rot beautifully.
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