How do you deal with criticism? Do you succumb to words that cut you sharper than knife? Or, do you learn from the criticism and come back with your head held high? While there are many amongst us who would have gone through the first recourse many a times in our lives, some would have taken the latter resort.
If I have to name one such person who truly did justice to others’ criticism by using disapproval and mockery to their own advantage, then it has to be none other than Late Indira Gandhi.
So strong was the mind-set of this woman, that she would not let go of her obstinacy to overcome the hardships at any cost. Time and again, she was criticized by others, and even by her own party members. She hit rock bottom, survived, fought and then reached to the top.
Sometimes I wonder why is it that Rahul Gandhi could not learn from her grandmother, a lady who changed the shape of Indian politics’ dynamics with her grit, vision and never-say-die attitude. She clearly set an example on how to stick to one’s guns, without ever once surrendering to the opposed forces. She knew what the country needed, and she delivered it to the people.
They say a person’s heredity has a major impact on the way they conduct their lifestyle and react to the environment around them. If that is the case, then what is that stops Rahul to be as remarkable a politician as his grandmother was? What is the reluctance and why doesn’t he shun it?
Does Rahul really need anyone?
No. Rahul has been blessed with genetics that have given India its key political leaders. The man needs no one but faith in himself and in the almighty. He doesn’t need any strategist to draft his success in the political realm of India. It is time for him to incorporate the lessons taught by his grandmother and incorporate them in his journey to self improvement.
Human beings are gifted with a limitless potential. We look up to others, learn from them and improve ourselves. So, why does Rahul need anyone, when he has the life lessons of nobody else but his own grandmother to be inspired from?
For him, it is impossible to reach a point of no growth. It is he who has to decide how soon can he think from his grandmother’s viewpoint, handle the current crisis and write his own future.
They say “…in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you”. With this belief, my word for Rahul is – do not endorse Nitish Kumar. He should be aware of Nitish’s ambitious plans.
In his attempt to counter Narendra Modi, he should refrain from building another Modi. Congress is already paying a heavy price for making Arvind Kejriwal Delhi’s Chief Minister for 49 days. At that time, I had screamed at the top of my lungs that Congress has made a blunder. I hope it stops now. It needs to stop investing in another strong competitor.
Realise the ‘actual’ need of hiring strategists
Understanding the core reason why does one hire a political strategist is important for Rahul. He doesn’t need a political consultant to make him a hero. He can become a hero only by his own deeds.
Citizens look for results, not for promotional strategists. There is no denying that they are important to market a product, but then first, the product has to be good enough to be marketed.
Remember that outsourced strategists will always remain outsiders. They can’t substitute your own team. Such professionals have zero loyalty towards the political parties that they strategize campaigns for. They are there only for the sake of fame, power and money. Once they get it, they turn to their next assignment.
No matter how crucial support they extend to a party, they should never get much more limelight than the party itself. Nobody knew Prashant Kishore’s working style with Mr. Modi or, for that matter, with Mr. Nitish Kumar. But, since the time he has joined Congress, he has attracted more eye balls than the Congress Party could even gather in the past few years.
Relying too much on a strategist is doing more harm than good for Rahul and Congress. People are building the perception that Rahul Gandhi is inefficient and needs a strategist to build his image. Some even criticize Congress for the party’s lack of vision and talent in its own policymakers. Rahul needs to have his focus on his own party and work towards the growth of its own people first. Empower them, enhance their skills and knowledge.
Improve the party and then let a political strategist work. Narendra Modi did not win with the help of a single strategist. He had his own confident cadre, a long list of loyalists, support of thousands of diligent volunteers who worked untiringly for the party.
When will Rahul have such a cadre?
Recognise the Power of Empowerment
Congress today has some of the best people working in the team. Rahul needs to empower them. Develop that team. These people are his cash cows. He should not ignore them.
Any political party needs to treat its people as they will make a huge difference and they will. Congress needs to do so even more rigorously. Rahul should build his cadre and stay connected to it. Prepare it and develop it for a better future.
Another change that Rahul needs to bring within his party is to change the perception of being the party of elites with only English speaking leaders. He needs to bring in spokespersons that are fluent in Hindi, Sanskrit and perchance, Urdu too. This will help the party members to provide their own ripostes to the likes of Smriti Irani, Meenakshi Lekhi, and others.
Apart from this, Rahul seriously needs to have more credible media faces in the party. Bring on board some charismatic and good orators that are humble, empathetic and are intelligent enough to use media to shape public opinion in their favour. Most of all, they should have fire in the belly to counter someone like Arnab without losing their nerves.
Let Modi Go
One of the most important steps that Rahul needs to take at the moment is to turn away from attacking Narendra Modi and BJP government incessantly. A major chunk of India’s population is with Modi, and when Rahul attacks him, it is Modi who gets greater sympathy from the public.
Rather than focusing on Modi’s faults, Rahul needs to focus on his own faults. He should completely ignore him for two years and let other party members criticize the opposition. Meanwhile, he should work on building his own self. Nobody is perfect. Rahul will commit mistakes like every other human being. But, he needs to revisit his actions.
He needs to stop opposing the current government on matters where public sentiments are with them. In fact, he should appreciate the genuine efforts of BJP, on occasion.
Rahul needs to be a positive personality. When people will get fed up of Modi’s negativity and/or his ferocious attacks, they will certainly look for a positive force. Rahul has to be that positive force. After all, negativity has a very short life. Doesn’t it?
Alter Thy Will & Image
The current generation, especially those who will vote for the first time in 2019, is unware of the achievements that made Congress Party the grand old party of India. This generation is oblivious of the sacrifices made by the fabled Congress leaders, especially the Gandhis.
Rahul needs to think of some innovative ideas that can help him connect with the youth and make them aware of the party’s golden legacy.
Indira Gandhi was one such political leader who used to reply to every single post card/ letter that was mailed to her. But is it the case with Rahul Gandhi? No. 90% of the times, his office doesn’t respond to emails. He needs to make sure that every single email that is addressed to the party is well responded. This way, he will be able to better connect with the masses.
Congress can even reach out to volunteers personally, even if it is through automatic email system on special occasions. Volunteers could be invited over tea-coffee randomly to have a quick tête-à-tête with Rahul from random constituencies. Barriers need to be broken.
The Congress party’s anti-Hindu Image needs some urgent rectifications too. Rahul needs to work on transmuting this image. He needs to work as a leader, a go- getter and not just someone who talks the talk. There are many fabricated stories that have been built on Rahul till date. He needs to come out in the open and share as much information about himself as he can. Let the public know, understand and connect with the ‘real’ Rahul Gandhi.