The Congress’s biggest impediment has always been Congressmen. Their ability to fawn over their top leaders, especially those from one particular gene pool, is something to behold. This was on tremulous display on Wednesday when Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, not being able to control herself, gushed about how the Scion-King “risked his life” to “fulfill a public commitment” by making his helicopter land in Sitapur in UP despite “poor visibility”. Rahul Gandhi, who was at pains to explain that he did not force his chopper to land and that it wasn’t as dark and dangerous as Ms Joshi made it out to be, must have been groaning at the utterances from the schmooze-pit. With fans like Ms Joshi, who needs detractors? Poor Mr Gandhi.
But it now turns out that the poorer chap is the chopper’s pilot. He has been summoned by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to be questioned after being suspended. This is what happens when you fly into a Congress turbulence: you become the fall guy. Like a schoolboy accused of sticking gum on the teacher’s seat — and being cheered by the boys in the back row who thinks he's done the 'brave job' — Mr Gandhi has now been forced to clear the air.
There are three possibilities: the pilot, who may or may not have flouted regulations, was wrong; Mr Gandhi, who may or may not have flexed his muscles, was wrong; or neither of them flouted any rules at all and Mr Gandhi’s well-meaning but Pavlovian cheerleaders were wrong. The moral of the story: too fervent a display of loyalty can get the one being cheered in an unnecessary flap.