For decades they lived with an aura of mystique and infallibility. Their durbaris projected the Nehru-Gandhi family as knights in shining armour, who out of the generosity of their hearts had agreed to rule this intractable country of over 1 billion.
Lesser beings were hauled over the coals for the slightest indiscretion, especially if they had any link whatsoever to that ‘vile’ saffron colour. But the Nehru-Gandhis were ethereal beings, only to be admired from afar, not subjected to the same questioning as was the fate of other politicians, mere mortals all.
But something has changed in the last 5 years. The facade has crumbled a little and what can be seen now is not only ugly, but an oder of magnitude worse than anyone had thought.
On Tuesday, Sandeep Singh, a close aide of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, man-handled an ABP News reporter and threatened him with ‘‘Thok ke yahi baja dunga’ (I will thrash you and play you like a drum).
The reporter’s crime? He dared ask a question to Priyanka Vadra about the abrogation of Article 370, a hot button issue for the entire country but one which the Congress’ ‘first family’ would prefer avoiding to maintain plausible deniability & ambiguity.
ठोक कर यहीं बजा दूँगा, मारूँगा तो ज़मीन पर गिर जाओगे, जब #Article370 पर कांग्रेस नेता @priyankagandhi से @ABPNews रिपोर्टर नीतीश पांडे ने सवाल पूछा तो उन्हें, धक्का दिया गया पटक कर मारने की धमकी दी गयी। ऐसे मीडिया की आज़ादी की बात होगी ? धारा 370 पर सवाल क्यों चुभ रहा है ? pic.twitter.com/PyClPVzb9f
— Vikas Bhadauria (ABP News) (@vikasbha) August 13, 2019
Not surprisingly, Singh is reported to be an ex-President of JNU Students Union and member of AISA, the student wing of the far-left Communist party CPI(M-L). After leaving JNU, he was active in the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption (IAC) movement and later joined the Congress as a ‘speech writer’. Going by the recent incident, he seems to be moonlighting as the family’s hired muscle as well.
His LinkedIn profile shows no work experience whatsoever, yet he claims his professional domain to be ‘Research’. His Ph.D was discontinued. At the risk of stereotyping social science students, one can safely say that most professional political activists produced by JNU like Sandeep Singh, Kanhaiya Kumar would show a similar trajectory.
The incident occurred when Priyanka, the Congress general secretary, was visiting Sonbhadra in UP on Tuesday. A complaint was filed at the Ghorawal police station against Sandeep Singh. “One Sandeep Singh, mentioned as personal secretary of Priyanka Gandhi, manhandled the reporter and threatened him with dire consequences. We are probing the case,” Ghorawal SHO G P Pandey said.
This profile of Singh shows him to be a big favorite of Rahul Gandhi, and someone who now accompanies Priyanka Gandhi on her sojourns across UP, running the show from behind the scenes. He is also talked of as one of the architects of the much-touted NYAY scheme (cash dole-out to the poor) launched by Congress as a vote-puller for the 2019 LS elections.
Back in 2013, this FirstPost article had asked “Why is it that the mainstream media (MSM) displays, what can only be termed as pusillanimity bordering on the obsequious when it comes to Sonia Gandhi?”
Come 2019, the mood of the nation has certainly shifted, but such is the influence wielded by this dynasty on the country’s establishment that most editors & opinion writers are still nothing better than their durbaris.
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