By Devaiah Bopanna Jan. 25, 2019
Is Priyanka Gandhi, a practicing Buddhist, capable of taking on the job in Uttar Pradesh? She might go to election rallies and praise Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to the hilt, in her quest to speak truth at all times. There’s no way she can proclaim that Rahul Gandhi is the most qualified man to be India’s PM.
It’s been a couple of days since Rahul Gandhi of the “He is the only other acceptable option” fame made a surprising announcement. Barely a week after accusing Prime Minister Modi of hiding behind a woman minister, he decided to adopt a similar strategy in Uttar Pradesh – by getting his sister the gig of being the party boss for eastern UP in the upcoming 2019 general elections. And the reactions were predictable at best.
For starters, I humbly ask everyone who is going on and on about nepotism and general lack of meritocracy within the Congress party to kindly shut the fuck up. Guys, a habit of 60 years can’t be undone just like that. But I will give Rahul Gandhi credit for making advances in the right direction. With this move, he has successfully introduced meritocracy at least within the Gandhi family. He had two options: Robert Vadra and Priyanka. Despite his general problems about women and their place in the parliament, he picked Priyanka to bail him out in UP solely based on merit. So kudos to you, Rahul, you are truly coming into your own.
In fact, Robert Vadra was so excited by this news that between bench-press sets in the gym he quickly typed out “Congratulations P…,” and then suddenly wasn’t sure what else to say, so he copy-pasted the message DLF had sent to him in the morning “… always by your side in every phase of your life. Give it your best. 🙂 (thumbs up emoji).”
Almost on cue, the pundits started belting out opinion pieces left, right, and extreme right. While some said this move had stumped Modi, a few others said this move was actually a no-ball from Rahul, so technically stumping wasn’t counted. The majority said Vadra is now clean bowled, while a few said that Vadra wasn’t out because Modi was bowling and the umpire signalled no-ball while stating, “Yeh fek raha hai.”
But nobody seems to be delving into the real issue here. Is Priyanka Gandhi actually ready for the Indian political landscape? I fear not.
With this move, he has successfully introduced meritocracy at least within the Gandhi family.
The primary reason for me feeling this way is because she is a practising Buddhist. Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Buddhists or people of any other religion for that matter. Except, maybe K-pop. In fact, I think Buddhists are the chillest bunch of people on earth. And therein lies the biggest problem. How will a Buddhist take on the firebrand Hindutva of Modi and Yogi Adityanath in UP?
We all know by now that elections in India are not always clean. In fact, they are so out of control that the election commission even sent Aman Verma with a bottle of Harpic to clean shit up in UP. After Aman rang the doorbell, he was allowed inside first, then robbed, and the Harpic was sold in the black market for double the price as Gatorade. Under such shady circumstances, how do you expect a Buddhist to come out triumphant? It’s not just promises that make you win elections. Would Priyanka entertain requests like, “Madamji, we need to supply some alcohol a night before the election. Otherwise, I think we will pucca lose.”
I think a Zen-like Priyanka would respond saying, “Shhh… what you think is what you become. Just sit under the shade of that tree silently, and you will win.”
“Madamji, I don’t want to correct your calm self, but I have to point out that the shade isn’t from the tree; that’s just Shashi Tharoor’s hair.”
Imagine a poor man who has his house burnt down during a riot go to Priyanka with his grievance. Priyanka might look at him and say, “Bro, you are on the right path. People generally have to leave behind their homes and materialistic possessions to set off on a journey to seek inner peace. But you’ve already had all that taken away from you. All you have to do is find yourself. Go forth.”
Experts say that Priyanka Gandhi’s entry is expected to split the Muslim vote that was otherwise taken for granted by the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance.
She would go to election rallies and praise Modi and Amit Shah to the hilt. Because one of the eightfold paths to follow Buddhism is about right speech. You can’t criticise, condemn or gossip about anyone. Worse, still, is that you have to speak the truth at all times. So there’s no way Priyanka can go on stage and proclaim to the country that Rahul Gandhi is the most qualified man to be the Prime Minister of India.
Experts say that Priyanka Gandhi’s entry is expected to split the Muslim vote that was otherwise taken for granted by the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance. I can only imagine the horror on Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav’s face. They had this in the bag, and would’ve thought the only threat to their Muslim vote bank would come from Modi who might RT a couple of Salman’s drunk tweets, and then put a gun to Salman’s head to post a selfie of the two of them together.
But even in their wildest imagination Mayawati and Akhilesh would never have guessed that a Buddhist would try and steal the Muslim vote away from them. But then, Buddhism doesn’t allow you to steal anything. So Priyanka would return all the Muslim votes to Mayawati and Akhilesh during the elections.
Although, I have a feeling, Priyanka might find an entirely new Buddhist vote bank if she reintroduces a version of the Haj subsidy – in the form of Ladakh subsidy for Indians who own a DLSR and have a “Second Name + Photography” Insta page. She will get urban votes from disgruntled souls trying to fill up an existential void by riding to the hills to “seek” validation through likes on their Insta page. But the thing that bothers me the most is how will Priyanka stand the extreme right Hindutva onslaught propagated by Adityanath, Modi, and even Subramanian Swamy?
Swamy is so secular that he believes all religions are the same – they are all Hindu. Look, Hindu fascism is way more hardcore than Buddhist fascism (just don’t ask the people of Myanmar). People in the RSS went on a rampage and brought a mosque down claiming that actually a temple stood in its place before. They could now just go beat up people who have attained nirvana practising Buddhism, claiming that Hindu inner peace existed within them way before finding enlightenment through other religions. However, the maximum Buddhist fascism can do is probably introduce a new rule under which traffic cops can fine Royal Enfield riders for not putting up the Tibetan prayer flags.
All this makes me extremely unsure if Rahul Gandhi has actually put any thought behind this decision. Or maybe there is another motive altogether for this move. Because it was Rahul Gandhi who led the Congress in UP in 2009, and now he has put Priyanka Gandhi incharge in 2019. Maybe all Rahul wanted was a good post for the #10YearChallenge for his Facebook page, and while he’s at it confuse the facial recognition algorithms trying to steal our data.
We will never know.
Devaiah Bopanna is a Mumbai-based writer who writes bad jokes for a living using non-living things. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter (@devaiahPB), and Instagram (@devaiah.bopanna). But don't follow him on his way back home because he will find that very creepy.