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In a massive show of strength, the Indian National Congress organised a rally at the Ramlila Grounds of Delhi, where Sonia and Rahul Gandhi defended recent reform measures, rather vehemently. Brought in from various locations in 3000 buses, the crowd was all geared up to draw inspiration from their Great Youth Leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi (the young man is 42 years old; 65% of India’s population is below the age of 35). Forgive the use of sarcasm, but the issue I have chosen for this article deserves nothing less than that.Its one thing to see an Arvind Kejriwal talk about systemic changes and it is completely another to hear a Rahul Gandhi talk about flaws in our ‘system’. In an attempt to cash in on the anti-establishment sentiment that Kejriwal has so deftly promoted in the country, Mr Gandhi decided to play victim. He began a vague tirade against the political system in our country. To quote him, “The biggest problem in our country is the political system. The people who run the system are busy mud-slinging at each other. We have to open our doors – to the common man, to the youth.”

I have three points to rebut his superficial role play of the victimised common man.

First, Mr. Gandhi has been in the Lok Sabha for eight long years now. The system that he rants about is a system in which he has been the second most powerful man for eight years. Had he really wanted to change anything, it was within his power and influence to do what was required. However, Mr. Gandhi is in a very comfortable position to even desire any kind of change. Earlier this year, an RTI application was filed by academician Madhu Purnima Kishwar on the basis of this conversation with a Congress Leader when the leader was asked about Mr. Gandhi’s role in the Government, asking for details of his foreign trips:

“He will have time for the Government or the Party only when he can spare it from his mysterious lifestyle. He is forever running abroad. Everything is shrouded in secrecy. Rahul ji did not even have time to accept birthday greetings from hundreds of Congressmen who were brought to wish him from faraway places on his birthday. He was in all possibility dancing in some Dubai or London discotheque.”

I concede that the authenticity of this information is highly controversial. However, the Government’s refusal to give the information asked for does raise questions. After all, it is now common knowledge that after a routine two day high profile visit to a Dalit’s house, he does disappear for days or weeks on end.

Second, the ‘mud-slinging people-who-run-the-system’ that Mr. Gandhi talks about are his own partymen. Aren’t they the ones running the system? So, ideally, when he is hailed by them as their ‘Great Leader’, shouldn’t he be able to ask them to stop the mud-slinging? The fact is, it is his partymen who are at the receiving end of all the allegations of wrongdoing and corruption.

Third, Mr. Gandhi reiterates the need to involve the common man and the youth into politics. Last week’s Cabinet reshuffle saw a few young leaders being included in the Council of Ministers. Sachin Pilot, who was made Minister of State, Corporate Affairs, is from a powerful political family. Jyotiraditya Scindia, the new MOS Power, is a member of the Royal Family of the Scindias of Gwalior. Where is the common man, Mr. Gandhi?

Mr. Gandhi appears extremely incongruous in his show of false ‘victimhood’ of the system. It is time the people of this country see through the shallowness of such arguments and their proponents. If we continue to put these people in office repeatedly, we might see in another thirty years, the next generation of Gandhis attacking the very same system, just like Rajiv Gandhi did about three decades back!

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