15 June, 2021

Non-Playing Captain?

Rahul did try. But Modi has avoided risk—and a lesson he needs.

Illustration by Sorit
Non-Playing Captain?

It has been quite interesting to watch the footwork of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi—supposed next-generation rivals on the national political arena from the Congress and the BJP—in the current assembly elections.

For all his untested mettle, for all the pampering lavished on him by a party beholden to a dynasty, Rahul, it must be conceded, hasn’t flinched from leaping into the campaign ring. He is staking his career on this performance, as it were. In contrast, Modi, for all his bluster, has kept away from the campaigns—maybe his party has kept him tethered, maybe he is sulking. Whatever be Modi’s reasons, this first sizing-up and circling of each other by the projected rivals of the future lends itself to some ringside musing.

Times have been difficult for Rahul’s party. The Congress-led UPA-II government and its image of the prime minister as a scholarly leader of integrity lie sullied with megascams. The government’s mishandling of the Anna Hazare agitation, its inability to...

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