What credibility does Mr Rahul Gandhi, a leading light of the Indian National Congress (INC) and scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family have? At 50, the “youth icon” has never been a Minister in a State or Union Cabinet. But he is a law unto himself! All his power stems from who he is by virtue of his birth. That he ( born in 1970) publicly tore up an ordinance, in 2013 shaming the Congress-led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ( born in 1932) speaks for itself.
A few days ago, Mr Gandhi tweeted, “Narendra Modi is actually Surender Modi”. This was a jibe against India’s Prime Minister since 2014, Narendra Modi and a snide pun on the word “surrender”. On June 20, he tweeted, ” PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression.” Everyone knows that the Indo-Chinese border has never been formally settled by the two countries, especially in the mountainous area around Ladakh. So to categorically state that land has been surrendered is highly irresponsible -without knowing the facts.
Mr Modi’s party, the BJP and its coalition have 338 out of 543 seats in India’s parliament, the Lok Sabha. Rahul Gandhi was suggesting that the Prime Minister had surrendered land to the Chinese following the ugly incidents along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh recently. India lost 20 soldiers including a Colonel but reports suggest that over 40 Chinese were killed as well.
Irrespective of the field we are in, be it in business, in the Armed Forces, or even in competitive sports, people at large look up to and respect those with credibility. When you speak of credibility, you are talking of trustworthiness and reliability. You are talking of a proven track record. If Mr Azim Premji is respected in business, it is because he built the Wipro conglomerate from a turnover of $2 million in 1966 when he inherited the business from his father to over $11 billion in 2019. Likewise , we speak of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw with awe as he won the covered Military Cross in combat as a young officer during the Second World War and at the peak of his career won the war against Pakistan in 1971. In cricket, Sachin Tendulkar ( now aged 47) is considered credible because he scored 100 centuries in international cricket before calling it a day!
Does Mr Gandhi forget that the political leadership in India was surrendered by his Party in 2014. That year, it was reduced to 44 seats in the Lok Sabha from 206 seats in 2009. It was not that he had brilliant leadership results. Indeed, in 2019 he gave up the Presidentship of the Congress to his mother from whom he had inherited it.
What makes Mr Gandhi’s snide tweet more galling is that his own family has not exactly covered itself with glory against the Chinese. His great-grandfather — and then Prime Minister – Jawaharlal Nehru was primarily responsible for the humiliating losses of 1962. Nehru tended to swing from one extreme to another. He once famously said that India didn’t need an Army and the police would do. He feared a strong Army may carry out a coup as often happened in neighboring Pakistan.
Yet he said grandiosely in Madras in October 1962 that he had ordered the Army to ” throw the Chinese out” ignoring that we were vastly out numbered, had inferior equipment and nothing more than the fighting abilities of our brave soldiers. Troops were rushed to snow bound mountains in canvas shoes from the deserts of Rajasthan. Nehru didn’t use the Indian Air Force to any significant extent fearing the war would spread more, but later he asked President Kennedy for US Air Force assistance! No wonder, the Indian Army, which had won many laurels in different theaters during the Second World War got an unprecedented thrashing in 1962. Over 35,000 sq. kms of land were given up to the Chinese in Aksai Chin where Nehru had said ” not a blade of grass grows”.
Even earlier, in the 1950s, Nehru kept mum when China invaded and gobbled Tibet. He had also given up large tracts of land in Jammu & Kashmir when Pakistan invaded that area in 1947. A short war followed ending with a cease fire in the end of 1948. The Pakistanis refused to give back the land they had grabbed. From then on, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, came into being covering roughly one -third of the erstwhile kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir.
Foreign Secretary Saran stated that over 640 sq. kms of our land had been taken over in some areas of Ladakh in 2013 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in power. It is well documented that the Congress Government under him signed several agreements with the Chinese to the effect that troops should not use fire arms in the LOC.
With such a background, what credibility do Mr Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party have to criticize Prime Minister Modi at such a crucial time? Can they not understand how high the stakes are? China seeks to become the most powerful nation in the world. At last count, it has disputes with as many as 14 countries on land and resources. Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, our progress in building infrastructure in the borders for the first time in decades, has threatened the Chinese, more than anything else.
This is the time for all parties to come together and place our country first.