Kareena Kapoor rather famously wanted to date him (she retracted later, saying she would like to host him and see him as PM; not date him). We know that Rahul Gandhi is MP from Amethi, General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, President of the Indian Youth Congress, Chairperson of the National Students Union of India.
We also know that he always dresses in pristine white kurtas, is very nice looking, has attractive dimples, wears earnest looking glasses and as successor to the Gandhi political legacy, is the great white hope (pun unintended) for the Congress Party. About 9 years ago, he deigned to inform the press that he has is dating Veronique Cartelli, a Spanish architect who lives in Venezuela. These are the few facts about the man that are in the public space.
Then there is a vast amount of scurrilous material circulating about him as well: that he has studied only up till class 12; that the BA from Rollins College, M.Phil from Trinity College, Cambridge is all fabrication; that his real name is Raul Vinci (this was actually the pseudonym assumed during his student years abroad due to security reasons, shortly after his father’s assassination). Various website rants will also caution us that he is an Italian citizen and a sympathizer of all things anti-India. While these are all a little silly and easy to debunk, what do we really know about the man, his achievements, his failings, his abilities and his limitations?
Rahul Gandhi’s Achievements & Failings
While his educational qualifications are notable, his political credentials rest almost solely on the accident of his birth. If he were not a Gandhi born into the most illustrious political family in India’s recent history, there would really be nothing to write home about. He has held no ministerial post in the government. Any ministry in the government could have been his for the asking. He is alas the very epitome of the person who has greatness thrust upon him – at the best of times he seems a most reluctant leader catapulted into public life much against his better judgment.
And he seems strangely inured to the savage world that is Indian politics; strangely cocooned and not really in touch with what constitutes India and Indian reality. Sure he campaigns hard for his party, is on the road a lot. He stays in Dalit huts and travels the Mumbai local (never mind what a security nightmare that posed) – but all that this tells us is that he is trying hard to make an impression and do what his publicists and members of the inner coterie think is appropriate for him to do.
Rahul Gandhi’s website is under construction, so the common man has no way of knowing what to make of all this. There is also a website called Rahul Gandhi Achievements – this is fully blank. This is most likely to be someone’s idea of a sarcastic joke and I have to admit it is funny in its aptness.
While he may have been a part of progressive programs of the government at various levels, neither RG nor the Congress have bothered to bring this to the attention of the public. Perhaps they think that lineage and the fawning adoration of his own party are adequate compensations. This is the sort of arrogance and refusal to justify himself to the people that really rankles.
Rahul Gandhi’s failings are many – he has never held office that puts him in position accountable to the public, he is seen as distant and unfriendly to the media, he is inexperienced, he has no track record to speak of. He is not an inspiring orator, nor does he have the commanding presence of other leaders of national import. I’m afraid earnestness and lip service, however well-meaning, will do nothing for either the congress or the young man they’ve obviously pinned all of their hopes on.
Image Source: IANS