Why Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal missed the boat

Victory of Narendra Modi in this election shows that the majority felt that he is better for the job than his prime opponents Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. While Modi was ahead of the two, considering the well-oiled and able machinery of RSS and BJP, these two were not far behind either. Congress is called ‘The Grand Old Party’ for a reason; it has strong and very polite ground level workers while AAP was driven by Kejriwal’s unabashed and restless fan base. In short, they were all on an equal footing when it came to popularity among different sections of society yet, Modi was able to leave both of them behind.

For Rahul, the biggest problem was that he was still under the shadow of his mother, Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Despite being young he was unable to connect with the youth of this country and remained silent when they came out on streets demanding justice for the Delhi gangrape victim. His silence at that time alienated him from the youth because he was seen as someone who too was part of an inefficient, insensitive and corrupt Manmohan Singh government, which although was not true, yet it embossed this image in the minds of most Indians. His silence on his mother’s strong backing of such a government only showed to the youth that it is not only her, but also Rahul Gandhi who is silently backing him. This indeed is tragic because he had everything going for him, a great surname, humility and also his party’s strong backing, but the inefficiency of Manmohan Singh government, his own lack of communication with the youth, and naïve reaction to aspirations of a country increasingly growing unsure of its standing in the world, turned out to be his Achilles heel.

In Arvind Kejriwal’s case it was his over-enthusiastic supporters, his irrational Icarus-like behavior and also his own lack of understanding of India which were his undoing. A man who had become a hero for his anti-corruption stance now is being sidelined by the masses for Narendra Modi, only because they saw him as someone immature. His rhetoric against anyone and everyone be it Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung or businessmen Mukesh Ambani showed him in poor light. The worst was that he was unable to even prove his allegations. To add to his woes, and as was the case with Rahul Gandhi, Arvind too had no track record of governance to showcase, but unlike Rahul, he was the darling of the media. He did make a few dastardly mistakes; the first and the fatal one being the decision of leaving Delhi in lurch in search of greener pastures, he should have stayed, as he himself admitted a few days back, and ruled from the den of all media houses. This would have helped him hog the limelight all around India but alas! This was not to be. His flip-flops on economic and societal issues and complete lack of understanding of foreign policies made him a pariah in mainstream politics.

At this time, Keriwal is cooling his heels in Tihar Jail while Rahul was last seen trying to keep himself relevant in an increasingly boisterous India that wants not vain promises, but concrete results. But, unfortunately, neither understands that India of today will not stand up for ‘talks’ because Indians understand that talk is very cheap.