It has been a public relations disaster for the Congress. As the BJP analyses the Delhi gang rape fallout, they sense a “complete disconnect” of the UPA government with the larger urban electorate across the country.
Some of them argue that it is more a Delhi phenomenon, restricted to the city limits, but quite a few seniors in the BJP think tank are aware that the unthinking savagery on the 23-year-old woman has found resonance in urban settlements across the country.
Even if the Congress insists in public that they have accomplished everything that could have been done, there is a quiet admission that home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had more than exposed his inability to comprehend and deal with changing expressions of the urban youth phenomena which have become very visible in the capital since the Anna Hazare agitation more than 18 months ago.
Shinde has erred in responding late, has unnecessarily exposed the fact that he believes he is more accountable to his political mentor Sonia Gandhi than to an anguished nation, and has also emphasised that it is not possible for a home minister to come down from North Block and hold a dialogue with the protesting youth.
Arun Jaitley, BJP’s senior policy-maker and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, told DNA that the government response to this incident brought out the “credibility crisis” of the UPA-2.
The big corruption scandals had already hurt the image of the government beyond repair and now its insensitivity to widespread national sentiments has further lowered its esteem in the eyes of an agonised electorate.
The BJP, says other senior leaders, has been careful in not over-politicising the situation. But it has raised two valid demands through Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.