Prince is pwned, and how! Kanchan Gupta To distract himself from the Congressâ€™s miserable performance in the Bihar Assembly election despite his energetic campaign of slander and calumny, Mr Rahul Gandhi went on a three-city tour of Gujarat last Friday. But if he was looking forward to hordes of fawning supplicants gathering at Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Rajkot to pay homage to their Prince and swear undying loyalty to the Dynasty, he was in for a rude surprise. In each city he was baldly told by brash youngsters about Chief Minister Narendra Modiâ€™s development agenda and how it had placed Gujarat on the fast track to rapid growth. So why was he cavilling against the man to whom credit goes for fashioning the model for effective governance? In Ahmedabad a young girl, disregarding the heir apparentâ€™s exalted status, got into an argument with him. â€œI challenge you to name Congress leaders who can measure up to Narendra Modi on development work,â€ she tauntingly asked Mr Rahul Gandhi. Obviously Indiaâ€™s middle-aged Prince who fervently hopes the septuagenarian Regent will one day step aside to let him sit on the masnad of Delhi and not do unto him what the Queen has done unto Prince Charles, did not take kindly to such harangue. And so he snapped at those dazzled by Mr Narendra Modiâ€™s â€˜minimum Government, maximum governanceâ€™ agenda: â€œMao also developed China but he caused destruction to the country too.â€ The feisty young student, refusing to be put down by the Princeâ€™s snub, retorted: â€œYou are referring to the Gujarat riots. Both Muslims and Hindus died in that violence.â€ Stunned that a commoner should have the temerity to call the bluff of the scion of the Dynasty, he walked out of the meeting, muttering something to the effect that he was â€œgetting lateâ€. We donâ€™t know what transpired after that, but a fair guess would be the youngsters burst into raucous laughter and reached for their cell phones to text the story of how they had lyk, pwned da Prince. (No, the words are not misspelt; to learn what they mean, and to be uber cool, look up the Urban Dictionary. I am learning.) This is not the first time that Mr Rahul Gandhi, the great hope of the Congress and therefore of the country, has had to face a rough time while playing evangelist. Earlier this year, on February 2, the Congress general secretary who can do no wrong and whose dismal failure is the stuff of which grand political triumph is constructed, had to offer a grovelling apology to the students of Lalit Narayan Mithila University at Darbhanga in Bihar after bad-mouthing Gujarat and Mr Narendra Modi. Addressing the students at the start of what the party faithful had billed as a two-day visit to the State to â€œshore up support for the Congressâ€, the Prince thundered: â€œFor India to be changed (presumably into the bhooka-nanga Bharat of his dreams) Gujarat needs to be changed first.â€ All hell broke loose in the hall as outraged students turned on him with remarkable ferocity. â€œThis meeting is not a platform for making political statements,â€ one of them shouted. Another student caustically asked, â€œWhat about the condition of Bihari youth in Congress-ruled Maharashtra and even under the Central rule of your party?â€ A third demanded, â€œWhy are you involving Gujarat here?â€ A visibly rattled Rahul Gandhi sought to pacify the angry students, saying it was â€œjust a slip of the tongueâ€ and that he meant to say â€œFor India to be changed, Bihar needs to be changed first.â€ That was an unambiguous statement: Bihar needs to get rid of the JD(U)-BJP alliance in power. It only served to make the students see red and bedlam followed. The Prince had to virtually flee the venue. That evening, news channels, including the ever-so-loyal NDTV and CNN-IBN, showed footage of the meeting released by the Congress in which the Prince was seen boldly denouncing Gujarat and by implication Mr Narendra Modi, with anchors approvingly nodding their heads. The rest of the tape had been carefully sliced off. To the horror of the Congress and its publicists, the full tape surfaced on YouTube, where it still exists. But letâ€™s get back to the Bihar Assembly election and the massive mandate for the JD(U)-BJP alliance which has swept the polls, demolishing both â€˜secularâ€™ foes and â€˜secularâ€™ myths. The RJDâ€™s decimation â€” Ms Rabri Devi was booted out of Raghopur by her kinsmen and lost in the other Yadav-dominated â€˜safeâ€™ seat she contested too â€” and Mr Lalu Prasad Yadavâ€™s subsequent redundancy in Bihar politics were not entirely unexpected. Nor did anybody seriously expect Mr Ram Vilas Paswan to be sworn in as Chief Minister with an Osama bin Laden lookalike as his deputy. What, however, has come as a stunner is the rout of the Congress: Not only has the party managed to halve the seats it held in the last Assembly, it has also lost votes across the State. The bulk of the Congressâ€™s candidates had been carefully hand-picked under the supervision of the Prince if not by him and if Akbar Road gossip is to be believed each of them was paid a fortune towards election expenses. Mr Rahul Gandhi, sleeves rolled, led the Congressâ€™s campaign from the front with Ms Sonia Gandhi providing him with covering fire. He addressed 19 â€œmammothâ€ rallies covering more than a hundred constituencies. And his recurring refrain was that the JD(U)-BJP Government had squandered all the money given by New Delhi instead of putting Bihar on the path of development. People gawked at his helicopter and baulked at his bare-faced lie. And voted with their feet. Meanwhile, in the studios of news channels in Delhi, disbelief and horror ran high as the enormity of the Congressâ€™s defeat emerged the day the results were declared. As my friend on Twitter @zenrainman tweeted, anchors and â€˜expertsâ€™ desperately looked for â€œthe dark lining to the silver cloudâ€. When they couldnâ€™t find it, they came up with the startling suggestion that this was the BJPâ€™s opportunity to disown its own and embrace Mr Nitish Kumar as the NDAâ€™s choice for the Prime Ministerâ€™s job. The Delhi commentariat, in its profound wisdom, believes that a national party should concede the top job to a regional ally to prove its â€˜secularâ€™ credentials. Sophists pompously declared it was the BJPâ€™s Clause IV moment. Nobody spoke of how Mr Nitish Kumar, for all his dislike of Mr Narendra Modi, has adopted the Modi Model of good governance and tough administration; how path-breaking schemes introduced in Gujarat have been adapted in Bihar; how he has tapped â€˜Bihari prideâ€™ to his advantage; and, how he has fashioned himself as Biharâ€™s sole leader after the leader the secularists love to hate. India deserves far better than a Regent who prefers silence over staunching corruption and under whose watch the country has been looted and sacked again and again. India definitely does not deserve a Prince who wants to recast the country as bhooka-nanga Bharat where Government will be an aid handout agency dependent on foreign donors. India deserves a leader who can make Indians, irrespective of faith, community and caste, proud of their ability to scale new heights of achievement. And that leader is Mr Narendra Modi. If there has been a seismic change in political discourse and the crafting of a political agenda that focuses on governance and delivery, the credit goes to him. Call him â€˜Maodiâ€™ if you must, but donâ€™t grudge him his due.