Gaslighting again: Making sense of Rahul Gandhi’s political expedition of falsehoods against Narendra Modi and RSS


Demagoguery is elemental to politics. However the usage of lies, moderately patent lies, as an instrument of politics, is a brand new development. Within the age of social media lies peddled with confidence purchase options of fact for the plenty.

This manipulation of social psychology by way of patent lies is named as “gaslighting”. This time period was utilized by a US author named Armenda Carpenter whereas discussing the politics of US president Donald Trump. In Could I wrote about how Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been gaslighting India incessantly. Of late, he has turned gaslighting right into a wonderful artwork. He’s trotting the globe with an air of machismo and describing India as “the worst place on earth within the regime of Narendra Modi” which scenario may very well be reversed provided that the prime minister is eliminated.

File picture of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

There could be real causes for his Modi-centric rant. However his brazenness of enjoying round with information and presenting falsehood as fact falls into the precise sample of manipulating individuals’s behaviour by way of deception and falsehood. There’s certainly a way in his insanity. Take, as an example, his try to undertaking the Rafale deal as “corruption”. One of many causes he has ascribed corruption to this undertaking is the truth that Reliance Group has no prior expertise in defence manufacturing. Rahul tends to overlook, or intentionally push to the recesses of his reminiscence, sure different equally well-known information that are to not his comfort. Like the truth that that is not the primary time the Reliance Group has received a undertaking in an business it has no background in.

Again within the remotely-controlled regime of Manmohan Singh, this similar group was awarded gigantic infrastructure growth contracts in Delhi and Mumbai. The Rs 6,000 crore Delhi Metro Airport Categorical line was awarded to the Reliance Group underneath the PPP (public non-public partnership) mannequin in January 2008. It was meant to be commissioned in August 2010 in time for the Commonwealth Game (October of that yr) however missed the deadline repeatedly earlier than it was partly inaugurated in February 2011. Even after that, it was beset with issues. Meant to run at 135 kmph (different metro traces run at 80 kmph most pace), it needed to drop all the way down to 50 kmph resulting from technical faults. The road needed to cease operations for six months in July 2012 to rectify structural errors. Six months after it resumed operations, Reliance walked out of the undertaking citing irrecoverable losses (as a result of shut down), forcing Delhi Metro Rail Company (the general public sector associate) to take over operations.

A yr earlier, in 2007, the Reliance Group was awarded the contract for Mumbai Metro 1 and Mumbai Metro 2 traces underneath the PPP association. Metro 1, at an estimated price of Rs 4,600 crore, was inaugurated in June 2014 after lacking a number of deadlines and Metro 2, at a value of about Rs 18,000 crore in 2017, remains to be underneath building. Neither metro building had concerned a personal participant earlier than this nor had the Reliance Group any background in rail building. It has now grow to be one of many main operators in that area successful many contracts within the different Mumbai Metro projects.

Rahul’s second main line of assault on the Modi authorities close to the Rafale deal is that the Reliance Group was drowning in debt of almost Rs 40,000 crore on the time it partnered with Rafale. This, in accordance with him, was a give away from the federal government. Whereas the jury is nonetheless out on that, it’s instructive to notice how Rahul pans Modi with out realising that his reference to the group’s debt disaster is nothing however an indictment of the Manmohan authorities and his mortgage profligacy, aptly known as “phone-banking” by Modi whereas retracing the unhealthy loans disaster that has crippled India’s banks.

But, Rahul continues his assault as if he’s insulated from the sins of the UPA authorities.

Take one other occasion of his fulmination overseas wherein he accused the Modi authorities of subverting the judiciary. He rigorously prevented any reference to his personal get together’s crude try to stage a coup within the Supreme Court docket by initiating the impeachment of the Chief Justice of India. That was the very best stage of intimidation of the very best judicial officer of the nation, within the 70-year historical past of the Supreme Court docket. That the transfer got here out a cropper is not any due to Rahul or his get together, however its intent was unmistakable and ever-lasting. It was probably the most brazen try on the subversion of the judiciary. Disturbingly, this assault got here from the principle Opposition get together, whose job it’s to withstand assaults on the independence of the Supreme Court docket from the federal government of the day.

In Indira Gandhi’s time seniority within the Supreme Court docket was upended to make the judiciary pliant to the political govt. However nothing of that kind has occurred within the final 4 years as exemplified just lately by the nomination of insurgent decide Ranjan Gogoi as the following Chief Justice of India. He calls demonetisation the largest rip-off in India and explains it in a moderately curious means. He says that in demonetisation the federal government took away poor individuals’s cash and replenished the coffers of wealthy industrialists by writing off their loans. This can be a distinctive formulation, as near the fact because the North Pole is to the South. It additionally fully disregards the UPA authorities’s personal immense contribution of the unhealthy loans mess. It’s fairly akin to the apocryphal story of Indian politics wherein an opposition chief mounted an assault on the ruling get together for a string of unhealthy crops. He claimed that the authorities had constructed dams and energy crops that have been extracting the electrical energy from the water and making it impotent for agriculture. Absurd as that’s, such formulations typically resonate with the inhabitants. That is maybe why Rahul cannot cease himself from developing along with his personal model of Goebbel’s fact every single day.

He compares the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to the Muslim Brotherhood. In his notion, each are guided by intolerance and violence to achieve their final purpose of building a theocratic social and political order, it doesn’t matter what information bear out. He forgets, after all, that his father and prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, had defined away the worst riots of submit Independence India saying “when a giant tree falls (Indira Gandhi’s assassination), the bottom is sure to shake (killing and maiming of 1000’s of Sikhs). After all, because the honorable P Chidambaram just lately stated, Rahul was only a faculty boy and he must be spared the burden of carrying the cross on behalf of his father or the Congress get together. Rahul additionally forgets that it was Rajiv Gandhi — not the RSS or Narendra Modi — who had the locks of the temple contained in the Babri mosque opened in 1986. Right here, too, he can take refuge in Chidambaram’s ingenious excuse, Rahul was nonetheless a faculty boy.

However what about 1989 when Rahul was a strapping younger college-goer? Would he care to recall that that yr, his father — swamped by corruption scandals and a looming defeat within the upcoming elections — had launched his 1989 election marketing campaign from Ayodhya promising to usher in “Ram Rajya” after laying the muse for a temple on the disputed website?

Now that he’s 48 what’s his comprehension of the occasions after Indira’s assassination? To say, as he did, that the Congress get together was not concerned on this darkish chapter of impartial India — after the judicial proceedings towards a number of get together leaders and obvious half-hearted apologies from the highest management — is just not solely totally unconvincing however displays whole callousness and insensitiveness on his half. Even when he was too younger to grasp politics then, who has he been taking his modern historical past of India and the Congress get together from? Hopefully not from Uncle Chidambaram.

Rahul’s political conduct falls right into a constant sample. He appears to be satisfied that his aggressive stance mixed with bluff and bluster would make a successful mixture and finally propel him as an alternative choice to Modi. He’s momentarily profitable to the extent that he’s occupying individuals’s mind-space by way of media protection. Rahul’s utterances usually are not random. All of it appears to be part of a rigorously crafted technique to ape worldwide tendencies of being economical with the fact and peddling blatant falsehoods with hubris.

However he nonetheless lacks the popularity of a reputable agent of change. The reason being not far to hunt. With a non-existent organisational community, the Congress has been shifting about like a rudderless ship. Its try to forge a coalition by way of regional forces is sure to strengthen regional events greater than the Congress. Rahul’s personal model of “Hindutva” (visiting temples, now occurring the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage) is just not solely anachronistic with the brand new “Hindutva” captured by the Sangh Parivar but additionally anomalous with the get together’s pronounced left-leaning ideological underpinnings.

Demagoguery, not falsehood, has a spot in politics solely when there’s a sense of drift and the welling up of individuals’s anger towards the rulers – as was the case in 1977 towards Indira Gandhi or in 1989 towards Rajiv or 2014 towards Sonia-Rahul-Manmohan. Modi is neither dropping individuals’s belief neither is he ceding floor to adversaries. In such a setting, Rahul has little doubt launched into a foolhardy political expedition.



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