At this point, politics seems to have more burns than your average rap battle.
In an election rally in Pondicherry today, Rahul Gandhi tried to link the ongoing farmer protests with the interests of his audience, which consisted of fishermen. “Govt passed 3 Bills against farmers, the backbone of a nation. You must be wondering why am I talking about farmers at meeting of fishermen. I consider you as farmers of sea,” he declared. As if that comparison wasn’t overwrought enough, he went a step further. “If farmers of land can have ministry in Delhi, why is that farmers of sea don’t have the same,” he demanded.
It would seem like a reasonable enough request — Rahul Gandhi had compared fishermen to farmers, and farmers have the Ministry of Agriculture, so it appeared to follow that fishermen should have their own ministry as well. But there was a slight problem with Rahul Gandhi’s demand — India has had a Ministry of Fisheries since 2019.
In 2019, the Modi government had created a Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying. And its current Minister, Giriraj Singh, wasn’t going to take the affront of having his Ministry forgotten lying down. “Rahul ji! You should know that on 31st May 2019, the Modi government had created a new Ministry. He had also started a Rs. 20050 crore scheme called PMMSY, which is more than the Rs. 3682 crore total expenditure from independence to 2014,” he wrote in Hindi.
But Giriraj Singh wasn’t quite done yet. “Caro Raul (@RahulGandhi), Non esiste un Ministero della pesca separato in Italia. Viene sotto Ministero delle Politiche Agricole e Forestali. http://politicheagricole.it,” he tweeted.
It appeared that Giriraj Singh was helpfully trying to make Rahul Gandhi understand the point in a language he thought he’d understand. His tweet, when translated from Italian, read: “Dear Rahul (@RahulGandhi ), There is no separate Ministry of Fisheries even in Italy. It comes under the Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policies.” He helpfully added the link to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forests for Rahul to peruse.
It’s a pretty dramatic burn, but one that was coming. In 2019, Rahul Gandhi had been projected as the opposition’s PM candidate, and for him to not know if India had a Ministry of Fisheries reflects pretty poorly on his preparedness to take the top spot. Rahul Gandhi has previously been criticized for taking too many foreign trips, missing Parliament, and not attending Parliamentary Committee meetings — he’d skipped all 11 of the Parliamentary Committee Meetings on Defense till mid 2020. And with him publicly declaring that India needed a Ministry of Fisheries when it’s had one for nearly two years shows that try as one might, it’s not easy being a part-time politician in modern India.