Rahul makes amends for Arnab chat

Mumbai :  What is the real Rahul Gandhi like — A confused exhibit as in the Arnab Goswami interview? A boring public speaker or a tongue-tied MP? Neither of these, going by an informal session he had with senior journalists on Thursday morning.

Rahul makes amends for Arnab chat

At the meeting organised at Thacker’s, Girgaon Chowpatty, Rahul came across as a sincere fellow with a fairly clear idea of what is happening at least in the Congress party. And for most part he was candid, cohesive and eloquent.

 At times, he spoke quite bluntly. For instance, he said that his policies were not being implemented by the Congress party. That he did not foresee his party crossing the half-way mark. He was also asked quite bluntly about dynastic politics in the world’s biggest democracy and about his sister being a better draw than him. To the first, he said it was the case in all parties. Who are Uddhav and Raj, he asked with a smile. Even in villages, he said, the gram pradhan’s son holds some position or the other. And to the latter, he said that Priyanka simply does not want to be projected.

 In fact, he used the dynastic politics issue to buttress his point that politics in India had become a closed club. Barely 100 politicians take decisions for the country, he said, adding that he wanted to break the monopoly which is leading to corruption and find a way to induct fresh blood in politics.

Asked how he could share the dais with Ashok Chavan when he was taking about fighting corruption, Rahul tossed it to Prithviraj Chavan, who said that the former CM had not been convicted and still enjoys support in the party. Rahul, then, explained that he went by the sentiment in the party. He used the same logic to explain the lack of a pact with Mamata.

Rahul was cagey about commenting on Kejriwal but spoke at length on Modi. Gujarat, he said, was built over the years by the collective efforts of Gujaratis and their leaders but Modi wants to take credit for everything. In Maharashtra, if Mr Chavan were to do it, he would be hooted out, he said.

The BJP, he said, was unable to come up with original ideas such as MNREGA, RTI and the food security bill but that did not stop it from taking credit for what the Congress had done. He said he was surprised to see Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pramod Mahajan take credit for the digital revolution when it was they who criticised his father when he introduced computerisation.

Rahul made frequent references to Mahatma Gandhi as the person whose practice of consulting the people was emulated by the Congress party. And he constantly made the speaking-from-the heart gesture.

 As for opinion polls predicting a rout for his party, he said in all these years he was yet to see an opinion poll favoring the Congress.

Asked what had happened to him in the Arnab interview, Rahul broke into a sheepish grin. It was not an interview, it was an interrogation with all those lights in my face, he said.

Anil Singh

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