A well-known fast moving consumer goods company till very recently had a popular advertising tag-line for its large-selling bathing soap. Every few years it would announce Naya…, with a new Bollywood starlet plugging the brand, though there was nothing new about the soap bar the wrapper. Well, taking a leaf from the experience of the old, reliable FMCG major, we may soon be witness to the re-launch of what is supposed to be a Naya Rahul Gandhi.
A concerted attempt is afoot to try and create a new image of an intelligent man who knows what he is talking about, and is far from the fool that his critics in the media and the Opposition have often portrayed him to be all these years. It is in this light that one should see the PR ploy by his backroom minders in putting out a video of Rahul Gandhi ‘interviewing’ the former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Both the interviewer and the interviewee seemed to be in on the real game. It becomes amply clear when you cursorily watch the video. On his part, Rajan finds it hard to avoid a constant splash in the media though his day job is in a US university. Having exploited his stint in the RBI to acquire a larger-than-life persona, he cannot now help not being a sort of a public performer, holding forth on the economy and other issues almost daily. Before him, RBI chiefs rarely spoke in public; in case of Rajan, he barely stayed out of headlines. It is good he is deeply concerned about what happens in India, but given his political proclivities his words have lost much credibility. Now that he has emerged as Rahul Gandhi’s first ‘teacher’ on social media, his public standing is bound to take a further hit. The Gandhi scion does not have to put out the videos of his interactions with various experts in the public domain. Political leaders are widely known to consult domain experts regularly before taking considered positions on matters of national interest.
It would have been good both for the teacher and the taught if the exchange between them was kept a private affair. Despite the interviewer struggling hard to sound intelligent, and conversant with the subject-matter on hand, his ignorance comes across in the video. Indeed, you cannot help sympathise with the former RBI Governor. In this intercourse, it is he who comes across as a sucker, making himself available for the PR build-up of the 49-year-old pupil.