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    OpinionsDoes Rahul Gandhi know the responsibilities of Leader of Opposition?

    Does Rahul Gandhi know the responsibilities of Leader of Opposition?


    He is flaunting his muscles power without abiding by norms in !

    By Sushil Kutty

    A 2012 government note said that the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha is the “Shadow Prime Minister of ”. Does Raebareli Congress MP Rahul Gandhi know he is the “Shadow Prime Minister of India”? Modi has been Rahul Gandhi's target inside and outside Parliament ever since June 4. So much so, after Rahul Gandhi became LoP, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had been forced to defend Prime Minister Narendra Modi from repeated Rahul attacks.


    Rahul Gandhi must know that with great power comes great responsibility and the LoP of the 18th Lok Sabha is no exception. The LoP has the rank of a cabinet minister. The LoP's role is to oppose the government's questionable policies. But he cannot obstruct. Rahul Gandhi was seen goading opposition MPs to indulge in sloganeering and invade the “Well”.


    Rahul Gandhi should ensure accountability of the government. He should come up with alternatives to government policies. He should facilitate “smooth functioning” of the House. Does Rahul Gandhi know the LoP should always be ready to take charge of India if the Congress-led alliance secures a majority or Modi's NDA government resigns or is defeated?


    Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav says Modi's NDA government will fall in August, in which case, is Rahul Gandhi ready and equipped to form government? The 2012 government note says the LoP should by his actions and words act like he is the Prime Minister of India. The open and shut question is, does LoP Rahul Gandhi measure his words? Are his actions above board and does he act with a sense of responsibility?


    From what we have seen of Rahul Gandhi in action as LoP, the man has not covered himself with glory and propriety. Rahul Gandhi was seen goading Opposition MPs to invade the Well of Lok Sabha when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was calling Rahul Gandhi “Balakbuddhi”. Like they say “one wrong does not invite another”. Rahul Gandhi should ensure he behaves. Perhaps Rahul Gandhi will learn “on the job”.


    Second, the LoP should not do or say anything that demoralizes the armed forces serving the country. Even if he thinks the government's policies are dangerous. Rahul Gandhi's comments on Agniveer could be said out of earshot of the “common people”. The Defence policy should not be politically weaponized. The LoP can raise them in appropriate parliamentary committees.


    “And in times of grave crisis, the Leader of the Opposition usually underlines the unity of the nation on a particular issue by openly identifying himself with the Government policy,” says the government note. Most importantly, the LoP will not raise sensitive India-specific matters when abroad. The LoP is also the “official spokesperson” of the minorities, a department in which Rahul Gandhi does not need lessons.


    Fact is, Rahul Gandhi has been more active in the Lok Sabha than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi's “antics” have kept both Prime Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker on edge. There has never been a LoP quite like Rahul Gandhi. Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi were also LoP and so was Indira Gandhi, but never such a livewire.


    Again, the 16th and 17th Lok Sabhas did not have a LoP. Both times none of the opposition parties could muster the 55 Lok Sabha seats necessary for the LoP position. Rahul Gandhi commands 99 Lok Sabha seats. The Opposition total is 235 MPs. The BJP alone has 240, but the manner in which Rahul Gandhi marshalled “his resources”, it was as if the Congress was the “ruling party”! Prime Minister Narendra Modi was left lurching on his feet on many occasions.


    Parliament closed and Rahul Gandhi took the offensive outside. From New Delhi to Gujarat and from the Prime Minister's home-state to Manipur. Do Manipur's Meitei and Kuki know that LoP Rahul Gandhi is deemed “Shadow Prime Minister of India”, directing opposition fire on the ruling alliance? BJP spokespersons think the LoP position has gone to Rahul Gandhi's head. One gets the impression Rahul Gandhi is Prime Minister minus the paraphernalia!


    Congress has more than 10 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha. It is a moral victory, say Congress supporters.


    Rahul Gandhi won with the Constitution is the second accomplishment of the Gandhi scion. And Rahul Gandhi took the MP's oath on the Constitution of India. The 18th Lok Sabha will be remembered for Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is just an adjunct.


    Rahul Gandhi made BJP Lok Sabha MPs nervous when his biting words, linking Hindus to violence and ‘a-satya', brought a Prime Minister to his feet! This hadn't happened in 75-plus years. What else is in store for the BJP from a LoP bent on stamping his authority on the narrative? What happens when he gets to ask questions in key decision-making committees? Key appointments will need the LoP's assent — for the appointment of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, and that of the CBI. Rahul Gandhi as LoP will make things very difficult for the NDA government.


    Rahul Gandhi has now warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will defeat the BJP in Gujarat. In the same manner in which the INDI-Alliance took away Ayodhya. “And with that INDI-Alliance ended the Ayodhya Ram Mandir Movement,” Rahul Gandhi bragged in Ahmedabad, his attacks on Hinduism and Hindus unabated despite Muslims India-wide by now favouring the Congress.


    What is Rahul Gandhi's game-plan? Does Rahul Gandhi actually think the Congress can defeat the BJP in Gujarat? The Congress got 99 seats out of 543 in election 2024 and Rahul Gandhi is still patting himself on the back. The Congress won one Lok Sabha seat against the BJP's 25 in Gujarat and Rahul Gandhi says the Congress will defeat the BJP in Gujarat! How, and what makes Rahul Gandhi the all-conquering LoP?


    Rahul Gandhi is drawing parallels with Ayodhya. But Ayodhya was won on the back of slogans such as “BJP with 400 paar will finish off reservations”, and “BJP will rewrite the Constitution”. To paraphrase, the electorate cannot be fooled all the time. Besides, Gujarat is not Faizabad. The Hindu vote consolidation in Gujarat is impossible to break even with Muslim votes consolidation or with a Caste Census. Gujarati pride and a Gujarati Prime Minister are hard to beat.


    Rahul told Gujaratis in Ahmedabad, “The movement which was started by Advani Ji, whose centre was Ayodhya, INDIA Alliance has defeated that movement in Ayodhya…” Rahul Gandhi also “claimed” Prime Minister Narendra Modi “wanted to contest from Ayodhya, but his surveyors advised him against doing so saying he will be defeated and his political career will end.” The thing is just like a Prime Minister cannot lie or fool all the people all the time, a ‘Shadow Prime Minister' also cannot lie and fool all the people all the time. (IPA Service)


    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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