How different is Rahul Gandhi from MNS and KRV?

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: There is more than one way of looking at Rahul Gandhi‘s remark that the poor of Uttar Pradesh were being forced to migrate to other States to eke out a living. “How long will you keep begging in Maharashtra? How long will you keep working as labourers in Punjab?” was the Congress general secretary’s reported statement in his great-grandfather’s pocketborough, Phoolpur.

The most charitable way is to see Rahul Gandhi’s remark as the usual political rhetoric that precedes elections in the country.

Rahul Gandhi is heavily (and some say somewhat foolishly) invested in the assembly elections due in India’s largest State in a few months’ time. Showing up the “misgovernance” and lack of economic development in that State can be viewed as standard operating procedure for any politician.

However, it is equally tempting to see Gandhi’s statement as yet another reflection of his rather constricted two-nation theory of India: an India of the empowered urban-rich and an India of the forgotten rural-poor; an ameeron ki Hindustan and a garibon ki Hindustan; an India of growth and opportunties and an India of Dalits and tribals….

…in the creation of which he innocently believes Congress has had no role to play.

Not to be cowed down by the reaction to his initial statement, at successive rallies in Uttar Pradesh yesterday the “future PM of the country” made the following remarks:

# “Some leaders go to TV studios in Delhi and criticise my statement, but it is bitter reality. They do not pull down the windows of their cars to talk to beggars but I do. When I ask these beggars where they come from, they mostly tell me that they come from UP.”

# “Taxi drivers in Maharashtra come from UP because governments in the past 20 years had failed to bring industrialisation, employment, better roads, electricity or water to the state.”

# “When one talks of development, one talks of Haryana and Punjab. When one talks of IT, Bangalore and Hyderabad have the monopoly. Automobile industry goes to Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Nothing comes here. Congress has brought development and progress in other states, but UP is lagging behind.”

These statements are, of course, designed to show that his party is better than the other parties and it will be paradise on Uttar Pradesh earth if only they, the poor, would elect his party to power once again. That premise is always on weak ground when you consider the simple fact that the Congress was in power in most States for the better part of post-Independent India.

And wasn’t “Garibi Hatao” the slogan of his grandmom, Indira Gandhi?

But that’s not the point.

The point is there is a class-angle. Rahul Gandhi excessively focuses on “beggars” in Delhi, “taxi drivers” in Maharashtra and “labourers” in Punjab as if they are all victims of “distress migration“, as if the beggars, taxi drivers and labourers would all have been earning fat packets back home if only the Congress was in charge

As if there is no dignity of labour among taxi drivers and labourers.

Rahul Gandhi’s statement also opens up the more festering issue of rural to urban cross-country migration of unskilled and not-so-skilled labour that is a national even if “bitter reality”.

How exactly is Rahul Gandhi’s rant against the poor, the unskilled and the uneducated of UP going to Delhi, Maharashtra or Punjab different from (or more welcome than) the parochialism of the Maharashtra Navnirman Samithi (MNS) or the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), whose raison d’etre is built on deriding migrants or scaring the daylights out of them?

If one goes down this road, how much longer before other crackpots stand up and oppose intra-state migration, from Bidar or Gulbarga to Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore?

In a flat world where States are getting smaller, can every States provide all the employment for all its people?

More to the point, are only urban, skilled well-off workers eligible to flit from State to State or within a State, and work and settle down whereever they like because the Constitution of India allows them to do so? Should the rural, uneducated poor be condemned to the “bitter reality” come what may, for eternity?

On the flip side, can anybody make the case that Bangalore’s (or Hyderababad’s) IT-ITES-BPO boom is entirely fuelled and powered by local people? Or that there are no beggars, taxi drivers or labourers from “other” States in Congress-ruled or formerly Congress-ruled States?

Most malls in most cities—and Rahul Gandhi, who owns a couple of shops in one of Delhi’s glitzier malls, should know—are populated by youngsters from the Northeast. Are they just exploring India, or are they earning their livelihood elsewhere because they have no jobs or opportunities back home?

And who is responsible for that?

Are all those sex-workers from Karnataka who work in Goa and Bombay doing it for happiness? Are the Andhra construction workers building roads and bridges in different parts of the country doing so because there is no development in their home-State? And what about those carpenters and stone workers from Rajasthan?

To be fair, Rahul Gandhi knows the bitter reality more than most politicians because at least he has smelt the villages, but he also needs a reality check on his worldview.

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi

What Amethi’s indices tell us about Rahul Gandhi

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25 Responses to “How different is Rahul Gandhi from MNS and KRV?”

  1. Sid Says:

    Rahul can smell as many villages as he likes. He can sniff at the nice smelling ones and the bad smelling ones. In whichever case, his remedy will be the same: put me in power.

    Development and the betterment of his fellow Man couldn’t be further from his mind.

  2. chennaiveeran Says:

    There is always a mysticism surrounded around Nehru-Gandhi Family. They rarely speak and hence the halo remains.

    The more they speak, the more they are exposed. Allow Jr. Gandhi to speak more and the worst designs of Congress will unfold.

    Anyways, is he running for UP CM Berth ???

  3. Law of Omerta Says:

    “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time….” someone should tell this to the so-called “future PM of India.”

    If he wants to win the hearts and minds of the people, he has to stop talking in cliches, he must come up with real policies and show some real empathy and “respect” for us, the ordinary people.

  4. dr ramesh Says:

    The fiery speech of rahul gandhi in phulpur has made a statement, rahul gandhi is ready to become prime minister. His bodylanguage, clarity in what he spoke,has made bjp-rss jittery. Narayana gowdru has developed karnataka rakshana vedike into a selfless ,cultural,cadre based pro kannada outfit ,which has played a major role in protecting kannada ethos in karnataka,particularly in bangalore. Comparing krv to mns is too much, i believe. A potent rakshana vedike is vital for keeping kannada,kannadiga vibrant and thriving in bangalore.

  5. Nastika Says:

    MNS bet up UP taxi workers, sent back candidates from Bihar. Apart from blackening Belgaum mayor’s face (long time back), what has KaRaVe done to be included along with MNS?


  6. pdk Says:

    And Mr Palani Swamy single-handedly over-analyses a simple statement of fact/non-fact, makes assumptions galore, jumps from assumption to assumption making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Worst of all, he doesn’t even have fun doing it by the looks of it!

  7. Amarnath Says:

    What has Rahul Gandhi’s pro-poor people’s stance got to do with a pro-kannada organization, KRV in Karnataka.
    The author has unwantedly and irrationally brought KRV into the discussion. Anyways, the author is aware of the fact that both MNS and KRV spearhead the political movements in Maharashtra and karnataka on the basis of linguistic votes.
    Now, with the example quoted about Karave putting a check on railway recruitment, here is my take:

    1. Till Karnataka Rakshana Vedike took the railway recruitment battle in a big way, the exams from the railways were being conducted only in English and Hindi. Does it mean, people not knowing these languages are not Indians? What KRV did was to make the central government and the railways department realize that India has many other regional languages and for equality to prevail, exams for positions open in Karnataka must be conducted in kannada and rectruitment for open positions in Punjab must be conducted in Punjabi and so on.
    When Mamatha Banerjee took charge as Railway minister, she considered the request and now, railway board exams happen in all constitutionally approved languages

    2. When Laloo was the Railway minister, he used to send Biharis in trains for free of cost to Karnataka..You know what..They were being sent to appear for railway board exams for the Karnataka region, which falls under the South-Western railways.
    And the recuitment was not for any highly skilled position but it was for the D Group which comprises.

    Laloo was of the impression or was focussing to fill biharis even in such unskilled positions, and now, the author of this article sounds like a Laloo sympathizer who is questioning KRV’s stance of getting Kannadigas, jobs in Karnataka which is how it should be as per the constitution and democracy.

  8. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    The woman is carrying a full load of stones on her head. Her feet seem to be bare. The future prime minister’s plastic bucket is probably empty like his head. He is shod in the most comfortable walking shoes. So much for the two Indias he wants to bring together.

  9. Ananth Says:

    Mr, PalaNi Chamy, what about your “WarigiNal Tamizh” peopLe’s LTTE? If KRV doesnt speak out against outsiders specially against tamils, we kannadigas would face another civil war within our state initiated by your own “WarigiNal” guys. Dude first ask your brother’s from TN to learn kannada and respect kannada culture first then talk about KRV.

  10. Goldstar Says:


    Read this:

    You can also Google out more news stories where KRV activists have damaged railway properties ( for e.g in Cantonment station once, I remember ).

  11. Vinay Says:


    KRV has done a lot more than that. A small search of this blog will enlighten you.

    Dr. Ramesh:

    God help India the day that Amul baby Rahul Gandhi comes to power. Shame on us – what has he done to merit the topmost position in India? This is not a joke.

    Interesting to note though, that you have moved from Devegowda worship to Rahul Gandhi worship. What caused this transformation?

  12. Rohith Says:

    A very premature think-aloud this by Mr Palani, I must say.
    He’s gone konkana sutti mailaara to end up lauding Rahul Gandhi for whatever his efforts have been, and also ended up proving that to laud one (RG in this case) he has to ridicule someone else’s. And these comparisons have been rather unfair too. KRV never wished the daylights out of migrants in Karnataka; in fact they want migrants to feel more ‘at home’ in Karnataka by ensuring they learn Kannada and join the mainstream.

    Also, I quote one of the bold statements Palani makes here – “In a flat world where States are getting smaller, can every States provide all the employment for all its people?” – when states are getting smaller, the problem of providing employment for its people also addresses a thereby smaller audience, thus making the problem a more easily achievable one. In fact the intention of making smaller states would be for the administration to be more effective on a smaller scale, otherwise less effective on the larger scale.

    If a state can’t address all employment needs of its people it is okay, but it is unpardonable to be able to address none of the employment needs of its people. In a federal democratic union of states like India, one state’s failure to perform (create employment, say) cannot be used as grounds to penalize or burden the otherwise performing states. While this is already underway in India, the increasing and unregulated migration (tagged along with their induced intolerance towards regional language & culture – has just fueled the problems it has caused. Organizations like KRV are in this reasonable space of solving this vicious problem by hitting at the root of the issue without much political and administrative support till date, whereas RG, with all the political and administrative backing he enjoys is still clamoring to understand the problem and then figure ways to beat around it and win elections, perhaps driven more by the greed for power than the urge to solve problems. That would be the difference between RG & KRV according to me, and Mr Palani is wrong in his opinion here.

  13. chidu22 Says:

    Pathetic comparison, its deplorable to put KaRaVe along side MNS.Another tamilian in Bengalur preaching tolerance.Its better he takes his argument to his place of origins.

  14. Brahmanyan Says:

    Young Congress Leader is “flogging a dead horse”. Shri Rahul Gandhi should understand that there is no base for his Congress Party in UP. All this toknanism of staying and eating with dalits will have no effect on the electorate of UP, where BSP has a strong base. First he must try to address the public meetings direct from heart, instead of reading texts prepared by script writers at home.

  15. Simple Says:

    Aaaah, look at the dedication of this young man, Rahul Gandhi. Tell me one other leader who has the guts to lift stones? The typical politicians of India are casteist and communal. They will never do what Rahul is doing.

    Great respect and salute to Rahul Gandhi. I wish he becomes the PM soon. He will solve all our nation’s problems within months.

  16. Ramesh Bhat Says:

    The author of this article is definitely biased towards downplaying the Congress government, with a pretension of questioning Rahul Gandhi’s worldview.

    The author goes beyond this to even compare with KRV, MNS stance of migration. What the author misses is an objective mind frame of understanding the ill-effects of uncontrolled migration. Whether it is between states or within states, migration is a natural economic activity that is bound to happen. It only become alarming when it gets uncontrolled, when it gets facilitated politically by playing with public policies.

    Organizations like KRV and MNS definitely have their role to play in pressurizing the government, spreading public awareness about uncontrolled migration, sometimes even agitating to avoid the ill-effects of it. If the government was sensible to think and act upon, realizing the migration effect on employment opportunities for locals, demographic dysfunctions that could be caused, and economic stratification in the fundamental sectors like education, then there was no need for activists like KRV and MNS men. But, the truth is known to everyone.

    Going by author’s theory of “flat world”, why only limit to India or states within India, why not extend our vision to worldly view of allowing neighboring countries to carry out organized migration? It’s a flat, global world and would Americans or Chinese extend a similar solution to address unemployment issues?

  17. Gaampa Says:

    Like they said to BSY, give them a chance!!
    We should give RG too a chance and then bash…

  18. Kannadiga Says:

    Its baseless to project Karave negatively. The links that few friends have given here is nothing but half baked news. Hadn’t karave taken that step, we wouldn’t been seeing people from all states writing railway exams in their respective languages.

  19. Angry Young Man Says:

    What a curse and burden this family has been to our unhappy country. God save us.

  20. dr ramesh Says:

    Given a choice between modi, gadkari , advani group and rahul gandhi, i would elect rahul gandhi any day. Deve gowda being relevant in politics, championing the cause of farmers,worklng class and the poor is a testimony to the fact that indian democracy choses only the best to become prime minister of this great country. Karnataka rakshana vedike is almost single handedly taking on goondaism of mns in belagavi. Kannadigas are silent sufferers because of inaction of karnataka government. Importance of karnataka rakshana vedike comes to focus now.

  21. twistleton Says:

    it boils down to this: is he willing to risk changing the development paradigm so that such classic clashes of economic spaces are reduced?

  22. Vinay Says:

    Dr. Ramesh:

    Please – Deve Gowda is not at all ‘relevant in politics’ at the present moment. If anything, he has been thoroughly sidelined and marginalized. Thank goodness!!!

    Anyway, it is reassuring to see you gravitating back towards Deve Gowda worship. Carry on…

  23. dr ramesh Says:

    srimaan vinay avare, if u think think that only gadkari ,yatre specialist advani is relevant in indian politics good luck to you. when deve gowda resigned as primeminister ,he did not play caste card ,with maturity he went about his life, look at bjp, for everything and anything caste is the only thing they rely upon . when history will be taught, shastri,morarjee,indira ,rajiv ,devegowda etc will be seen in the same breadth .

  24. Harsha Says:

    hmmm.. According to the author, it looks like the champion for the poor is Rahul Gandhi and only he knows about the truth!
    If RG is so concerned about the beggars from UP, why cant he start a scheme to pull them back into homeland. I am sure that MP lads fund of 5 crore is good enough to start something rather than giving out gyan on present Indian condition.
    What is the achievement of the constituency which RG represents?
    Where was RG when country was shouting against corruption?
    Also, how can KRV and MNS be blamed for protecting the very cause of the federal structure, language , culture etc.
    If UP and Bihar fail to respect ‘unity in diversity’ and want to shove Hindi down the throat of 70% of Indians, its obvious that such movements will take place in each and every part of the country.

  25. Suneel Sardana,President Says:

    I wonder at the mental agony & condition of one & allchamchas,who want Rahul as the next & immidiate P.M.of India.Congress ruled the country & U.P. for majority of period & time & most immigration took place during Congress regime.All those,who are advisors & speech writters of Rahul are basically destroyer of congress & anti Rahul. I fully endorse the views of author of this article.

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