How Rahul's 'nonsense' remark found a similarity between Cong and BJP

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Friday, September 27, 2013, was unique. On one hand, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict on the voters' right to reject candidates of their disliking. On the other hand, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the UPA government led by his own party over the controversial ordinance aiming to protect convicted politicians.

It was unique for the two leaders, located at two extremes of the political spectrum, found themselves taking a common position and that is: criminalisation of politics can not be compromised with.

While BJP saw a revolution from below, the Congress saw a revolution at the top

Gandhi's public disapproval of the ordinance proved that there must be a limit to the moral decline that the UPA II has witnessed. Projected as a representative of the youth, it was very much necessary for Gandhi to play out the role of the party's conscience-keeper and he did, although not to the conviction of the opposition. But through Friday's episode, the Congress conceded to the fact for the party to regain its lost glory, the new realities of India can not be ignored.

Two weeks apart, the BJP and Congress story were similar

Two Fridays in September also established another similarity between the two national parties. On September 13, the BJP saw its internal rift over Modi's prime ministerial candidature taking a decisive turn, in favour of the leader himself. The resistance put up by the camp led by the leader of the old BJP, LK Advani, didn't last long and the entire party soon fell in line to endorse the new BJP with Modi as its face.

Like Advani in BJP, Manmohan was left isolated in Congress

Two weeks later, something similar happened in the Congress. Senior ministers of the party were backing the ordinance but Rahul Gandhi's open condemnation of the controversial step left Prime Minister Manmohan Singh isolated in the party, just like Advani in the other party.

Other new-generation Congress leaders like Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sandeep Dikshit also expressed their dissatisfaction over the ordinance which proved that the new Congress has prevailed over the old.

Congress's 'overt revolution' versus BJP's 'covert revolution'

There were a few differences also. While the revolution from below in the BJP was mostly a closed-door one, the revolution from the top in the Congress was an overt one. But both sealed the long debate and it will be a Modi versus Rahul in the next big battle.

Stakes are very high for both competitors. It will be interesting to see how the script of the absorbing drama unfolds from here on.

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