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Rafale Shows Rahul Gandhi Can Very Much Take On Modi

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The optically-dodgy Rafale deal has finally turned Rahul Gandhi, Congress President, into a real leader. Gandhi, who was arrested today for protesting outside the CBI headquarters, has been consistent on what he calls the "Rafale scam"; his stand has placed him on the same side as Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan; most if not all other opposition leaders have been weak-willed or ineffectual in accusing the Modi government of crony capitalism at the least and outright corruption at worst in signing up for 36 fighter jets from France.

This is possibly the one issue where Gandhi has displayed heartland political smarts, hit the streets, used it as a hot button campaign issue in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and, most importantly, set the agenda and the narrative. None of this comes naturally to him. But he has, from the beginning, used the Rafale controversy to hit straight at Modi, accusing the "chowkidar" of "chori."

With this catchy if crude idiom, Gandhi has scored in Rafale against the PM who is a master at setting the narrative; to be fair, Gandhi has been vastly enabled by the Modi government seemingly losing the plot with the late-night coup that saw CBI chief Alok Verma being forced from his office.