Granny's story retold

Sep 22 2013, 00:52 IST
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SummaryIf he does, then the Congress has much bigger problems to contend with than the advent of the challenger from Gujarat.

If he does, then the Congress has much bigger problems to contend with than the advent of the challenger from Gujarat.

Rahul Gandhi last week made the most curious and significant speech he has ever made. Curious because it was so very economically confused and politically naïve, and significant because it appears that his advisors and speechwriters have noticed finally that it is the economy and not secularism that is going to be the main issue in the next general election. Sadly, Rahul’s speech did not get the attention or analysis it deserved or it would have helped us understand why a country that should be among the richest in the world counts among the poorest. Thanks to Narendra Modi having articulated a clear economic worldview, Congress think tanks have worked hard to come up with an economic vision for Rahul. This was what he unveiled in his inimitable boyish style in Baran, Rajasthan.

He began by admitting that there were two ways to look at ‘development’. We want development too, he said emphatically, but we want people to have food in their stomachs and jobs first. They (read Modi) want people to remain hungry and jobless. Really? We want farmers and workers to dream big but they want them to remain poor and not dream of aeroplanes and shiny cars. “This is why I am standing here.” In other words: I, Rahul Gandhi, I, I, Me, Me, I am the new messiah of the poor just like my dadi once was. Remember that old, forgotten slogan from long, long ago? ‘Voh

kehtey hain Indira Hatao, main kehti hoon Garibi Hatao (They say get rid of Indira, I say get rid of Poverty)’.

That this mission to rid India of poverty failed is something her grandson has noticed. But what appears to have escaped him is that the reason why there is still hideous, grim, shameful poverty in India is because of bad economic policies. Not for reasons of ‘sickness’, as he said in his speech. Although he should ask himself why public healthcare is so sick in India that the poorest Indians are forced to use private services. That is only one of the questions that Rahul has not asked.

He should ask himself why after more than 50 years of rule by one member or other of his family, India remains so poor that his Mummy believes 70 per cent of

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