New Delhi: “After all, Caesar’s wife must not be above suspicion”.
Narendra Modi might have the gift of articulating to bully pulpit and laugh of the charges of much hyped “earth quake” sound bites of Rahul Gandhi, a “standing personification of ridicule and laughter” of Indian political stage.
What Modi and his jingoistic supporters among the Media and mushrooming fringe patriots have failed to perceive that by making such personal allegations, the Nehru-Gandhi scion has certainly changed the rules of the game as far as his party’s strategy and tactics are concerned.
Rahul, the political buffoon that Modi and his Bhakths ever love to call him, has scripted a narrative in an obvious bid to destroy the prime minister’s image of being incorruptible.
Well, whether the Gandhi scion is started making a sense at last is entirely another question for debate.
What is more interesting is that in building such a narrative, Rahul, the ever alleged political relic of “shoot and scoot adventurism” has, somehow, finally found some courage to attack Modi's image, target his image of being beyond censure .
Whether Gandhi's charges carry some legal semblance or sense is for the courts to decide. But, politics is rarely decided by nuances and legal minutiae of charges of graft. Sometimes, in an ode to Goebbels-ism, if repeated often and with a certain amount of conviction, it acquires a life of its own.
In politics, facts do not matter. Once people start believing lies and half-truths, they turn into legends and Rahul, the political novice had seemed to have come out of the age to understand this truth.
Though, the allegations were nothing new and are already in public domain, the timing of Rahul to make a sense or a nonsense out of them does not make the narrative a trivial act of politics.
Rahul seemed to have chosen to make these disclosures now as he and his ilk among the opposition parties believe that the poor implementation of Modi’s decision on demonetization has put the Prime Minister on the back foot.
As such, the much ridiculed Gandhi scion has made a break with the past and put his party on a different trajectory, however risky it might be.
He appeared to be a ‘Drowning man that is not troubled by rain”.
The reason is not difficult to comprehend. The government's botched up demonetization scheme, has made people reassess Modi, After almost three years of sound and fury with no substance, with which he managed to self-anoint himself as infallible visionary, people are finally willing to see the PM as a mortal, and what lied inside his 56-inch chest.
While the BJP can be expected to target Rahul Gandhi in the coming days, he has succeeded in placing the prime minister in the line of direct fire.
Under these circumstances, the Prime Minister would do more favours for himself if he can make some effort to answer Rahul’s allegations than mock and ridicule him.
The question that prime minister himself needs to answer is that can there be two yardsticks for probity and virtue – one for the others and another for himself?
The Sahara and Birla diaries that Rahul had quoted in his allegations certainly do not pass a conclusive verdict on the prime minister’s integrity.
It would be unreasonable either for the court or to Modi and his Bhakths to demand more evidence of wrongdoing or rather brush it aside as a comedian’s antic.
It would be better for them to understand that the more evidence can be gathered only if there is a rigorous investigation.
The allegations made by Rahul had brought Modi under serious suspicion.
Therefore, propriety demands that the prime minister should suo moto order a credible and independent investigation under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Modi can, of course, continue to laugh Rahul off as a "joke." But, he should be wary of the consequences of the strategy of mocking the critics.
After all, Caesar’s wife must not be above suspicion.