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Home » Opinion » Recycling Rafale Plan for Pegasus? What Oppn Can Learn from Rani Rampal’s Broken Hockey Stick


Recycling Rafale Plan for Pegasus? What Oppn Can Learn from Rani Rampal’s Broken Hockey Stick

The Opposition should turn towards a Mirabai Chanu or a Rani Rampal for inspiration. To counter Modi, the narrative has to be about post-Covid economic chaos, not cynicism.

Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other leaders ride bicycles to Parliament in a symbolic protest over fuel price hike after a breakfast meeting of opposition parties. (Twitter/@RahulGandhi)

Indian men’s team lost the hockey semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics, Rahul Gandhi finished a breakfast meeting with 15 Opposition leaders and chose to cycle to Parliament, Covid-19 cases are slowly rising again. As I look around me, these three headlines appear to be dominating the day’s discourse. Why have I mentioned these three events together? Because there is a link between them.

For the Opposition, which is trying every trick in the book to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ongoing Tokyo Olympics are a great storyboard to follow. I am not saying PM Modi has been personally taking the field in all events, but the athletes who are, appear to be driven more by a model which is geared towards Modi and less towards the Opposition.

Read the story of Rani Rampal, the captain of Indian women’s hockey team. She took a broken stick to learn hockey because the coach she wanted considered her “not strong enough”. She created a roadmap of her own and made her debut on the big stage at the age of 14. Or for that matter CA Bhavani Devi, our sabre fencer, who may not have had a podium finish, but is already realising what a great influence PV Sindhu has been on her.

So what’s the point? Simply put, it’s one thing to corner, quite another to present a cogent alternate model. So while Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee may have well have positioned themselves as outliers to a polity being dominated by the BJP, when it comes to the Centre, the story doesn’t appear to be any different from where it was in 2019.

READ MORE: Opposition Leaders Meet Over Breakfast to Plan Joint Strategy on Pegasus Issue

Then it was Rafale, today it’s Pegasus. Then it was the leaks coming from Dassault and French authorities, today the focus is on why India should not have an investigation if other countries have done so already.

One thing crystal clear about Modi’s style of governance is he doesn’t have a defensive bone in his political matrix. The unending farmers’ agitation is a classic case in point. A full year has gone by with no resolution. Modi won’t be pushed aside, that’s the viewpoint.

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READ MORE: NSO Blocks Some Govt Clients From Using Pegasus Over Allegations of Misuse, Reports NPR

Even if there was to be a debate in Parliament, to pin down Pegasus on the Indian state will be a mighty ask. Which means that just like the big Parliament face off on Rafale, when Rahul Gandhi went across the aisle to score some camera points, this time too it may end up being all sound and no substance.

The Opposition should turn towards a Mirabai Chanu or a Rani Rampal for inspiration. The Indian voter has moved beyond politics of cynicism, no matter what. To counter Modi, the narrative has to be about what will be done to get India out of post-Covid economic chaos.

It’s the broken hockey stick syndrome. Can the opposition pick up a broken hockey stick instead of trying to snatch away the stick of the player on the other side? That will determine the political power-play over next few months.

(Bhupendra Chaubey is Editor-in-Chief of India Ahead News. Views expressed are personal)

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