Bad Losers Can Be Dangerous - They Blame Others for Their Failures

Raman Swamy

It is said that winners talk about winning, whereas losers talk about the winners.  So, it seems to be with Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi.  Both of them are the star campaigners for their parties in the Gujarat assembly elections.  More and more, the Congress president is projecting the confidence of a winner. In contrast, the Prime Ministers is showing signs of desperation, hitting out at the Congress playing the victim card, coming out with baseless conspiracy theories involving foreign powers.

Modi’s reckless charge on Monday about a so-called secret meeting in Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence during which some nefarious deal was allegedly struck between former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari and several other distinguished Indian retired diplomats with the Pakistan high commissioner and a former Pakistan foreign minister has boomeranged badly. 

The usually reticent Manmohan Singh has put out a strong worded statement that not only nails the lie about any conspiracy but also reprimands Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms and demands an apology.  

However, apart from the repercussions of a sitting Prime Minister actually uttering dangerous falsehood against his predecessor, what Modi’s allegations reveal is his increasing desperation about the way the political winds are changing in the country.   Less than four years into his term in office, Modi is suddenly feeling the heat of failed policies and the smell of impending loss of face in his home State of Gujarat. 

Deep down losers already know the truth –that the end is approaching and things are unravelling.  But Narendra Modi does not even have to look deep down.  All the signs are there in plain sight.  The tide has turned, his power game is no longer working.

It isn’t just Gujarat.  Even if he does manage to scrape through in the assembly elections – which does not look likely, but who can tell? - it will be a poor consolation for all the other important things he has already lost.  He’s lost his make-believe image of invincibility.  He is fast losing his credibility among the masses.  Some say he is even losing the trust of his own partymen as well as of his original mentors in the RSS.

The problem with leaders who don’t listen to their advisors is that they will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.  The problem with bad losers is that they end up destroying their own good deeds the way fire destroys wood, as the Hadith says.  The only thing worse than a sore loser is an angry sore loser who blames others for his own shortcomings.

Narendra Modi’s dream of a Congress-mukt Bharat has been shattered.  It looks very much as if a rejuvenated Congress is making a strong comeback.  Not just in Gujarat, but in national politics too.  

While the formal announcement of his election as the next Congress president was being made in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi was on the campaign trail.  His election speeches in Gujarat seem to be making an impact.  He is attracting large crowds.  His tone and tenor show maturity. 

On the other hands, Narendra Modi has virtually stopped focusing on promises and boasts about development, which was supposed to be his principal election plank.  By now even the most blindly-loyal of BJP-supporters know that the economically weaker sections of Gujarat’s voting population – Dalits, Patidars, Muslims and OBCs - are no longer willing to meekly pretend that the benefits of growth have trickled down to them.

Modi, as Rahul Gandhi has eloquently pointed out, has been searching for alternative election issues to divert attention from the failure on the development front.  First, he claimed to have brought the “waters of the Narmada” to the doorsteps of the poor and underprivileged - but he dropped that theme when he opponents pointed out that the Narmada waters have been diverted to run big factories and not to the farmlands or harijan bustees.

Modi shifted focus by making one more attempt to talk of growth and development.  He mentioned the Nano factory as a symbol of development.  That boomeranged.  The Tatas were given Rs 33,000 crores in low-interest loans, and land at throwaway rates, but the small car is nowhere to be seen on the roads and the unemployed youth of Gujarat have not got the promised jobs either.  This simple assertion made by Rahul Gandhi seems to have evoked so much affirmative responses from the local population that even Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mewani and Alpesh Yadav have incorporated into their own rally speeches.

Modi dropped references to Nano and switched to attacking the Congress leader for visiting temples.   The idea may have been to dent the secular image of the Congress, but the outcome was far different from what the BJP’s star campaigner intended -  the media began giving intensive coverage to each of Rahul’s visits to places of worship, thereby enhancing his image as a pious young man with a tilak on his forehead and an angelic smile on his lips.  

The media has also started reporting much more than earlier on what Rahul Gandhi is actually saying in his rally speeches.  Here is a sample - “Our PM is talking about Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Jammu and Kashmir. I am a little surprised.  Today he spoke 60-70 per cent about himself, remaining time he is talking about these countries. Modiji are you afraid to talk about your last 22 years in power in Gujarat?  We will talk about it.  If not past then at least talk about Gujarat’s future.  Modi ji will take you all around the world. But he will not talk about 22 years of BJP rule in Gujarat. He does not speak even a word about Jay Shah. He does not speak a word about Rafael jet deal. He does not talk about cotton prices farmers are getting.”

The only response which Modi has been able to come out with is to make a fervent appeal - “The yield of pomegranates, potatoes and vegetables has increased by four times since BJP government came into Gujarat. Now, I am Prime Minister. So, you have ladoos in both your hands. One in Gandhinagar and one in Delhi.  Now, you can come to Delhi and call out to me and say, ‘Narendra bhai, wait, I have to talk to you’. Will you get such a Prime Minister? Will you get such a chance that for the next five years, Delhi will stand for your service?”

Sounds a bit pathetic, does it not? But that’s what losers do on the way down – they hit out at their rivals, they blame their own henchmen, they fabricate conspiracy theories.  Bad losers can be dangerous.

Dec 13, 2017

Raman Swamy [email protected]

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