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Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks that he was neither keen on the Prime Minister’s chair nor interested in marriage and having children may have seemed enigmatic to many. But sources in the know indicate that this was Rahul’s way of telling the world that he was aspiring for a bigger post, one that had importance across the world.
“Yes, you are right. He is indeed running for the post of the Pope,” a highly-placed source privy to the developments in the Gandhi household told Cranks News. “That is why he brought up the subjects of marriage and the post of Prime Minister simultaneously,” the source added. “If you looked at the papal history you will find that all of them who had been the Pope never were inclined towards having children and, more importantly, never wanted to become the Prime Minister of India. So Rahul words would be very reassuring to the Vatican.”
Rahul making it clear that he was not looking at both marriage and the post of Indian Prime Minister sends out the right signals to Vatican, which itself is looking for a fresh face to take over the mantle of the Pope after the sudden and surprising resignation Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) last month, the source pointed out.
“The term status quoist, which Rahul used is the key here. It underscores the fact that he understands and speaks Latin, which is the language of the Popes in times gone by,” the source said and added: “Being a Holy Father is better than being just a father. Also, why become a papa when you can become papal is Rahul’s simple logic.”
The source further indicated that Rahul has all it takes to become the Pope. “As far as I can see, the Pope has to turn up and make a middling speech on ceremonious occasions, issue statements on important events, wave at people gathered outside his place, travel a bit for canvassing support to his flock, while a retinue of people will be at his command to shield him from the press and the public. If you go by this system, Rahul is actually already the Pope.”
The source also said that he expected the Pope election to be a breeze for Rahul. “In a lot of ways the election of Congress vice president and the Pope election is similar. The elaborate election process is as follows: A group of hand-picked people go into a room. And then the name of Congress vice-president/the Pope is announced.”
Meanwhile, the news of Rahul being in with a chance to become the Pope has inevitably stirred the political waters in the country.
The possibility of Rahul becoming the Pope is expected to greatly enthuse the Congress ahead of the general elections slated for next year. “If Rahul indeed becomes the Pope it rules him out of the Congress campaign meetings. And there cannot be better news for the Congress workers especially considering the fate of the campaigns Rahul managed in the past,” a senior political analyst said.
“The Congress can also take heart from the fact that there is no likelihood of Rahul’s projected archrival. Narendra Modi, ever becoming the Pope, even though he has two important qualities to become one: Being unmarried and backed by a bunch of rabid supporters,” wrote another expert in a piece titled ‘What Rahul can, Modi Vatican’t’.
Elsewhere, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said there was no real surprise in the developments. He said Rahul is half Roman because his father married one. Rahul is half Catholic because his mother is one. “Put together it makes him a full Roman Catholic,” he said. “I have evidence to prove that once Rahul becomes the Pope they will make Vatican the capital of India. I will submit the evidence to the courts and also prove that Pope Benedict XVI was made to resign by Sonia Gandhi and her Italian sisters.”
In a separate plea before the Chief Metropolitan Court in New Delhi, Swamy also sought a stay on the Papal election claiming that the EVMs were tampered. In response to that the court has sent a notice to Vatican to respond within two weeks. The notice, it is learnt, has been sent through Speed Post, which of course means that Vatican will come to know of it some time in August.
In a related development, Congress sources said Pope Benedict might be offered the post of vice president in the party.
(The author blogs at kbalakumar.com)