Rahul Gandhi’s first formal interview on national television was overwhelmingly watched, discussed and dissected. While some might say, the polite leader won many hearts with his idealistic plans for India, despite Arnab Goswami giving him no space to breathe, others say it was, frankly speaking, a rather painful hour to sit through.

Some are referring to Rahul Gandhi’s first formal interview in 10 years with Times Now Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami as the interview of the year. Others stopped watching it after the first ten minutes.

 What went wrong?

First of all, the interview had a heavy overdose of the terms women empowerment, RTI Act, Lokpal Bill, inclusion of youth, and opening up of the system-repeatedly. One might wonder why Rahul Gandhi seemed to be spewing the same words over and over again, when the question he was asked by the interviewer was vastly different. Many have compared him to a student giving his medical exam viva. Many have made allegations that he had come to the interview prepared with answers to particular questions. Arnab Goswami, to Rahul Gandhi’s possible dismay, did not ask those questions, but Rahul Gandhi was persistent; he still gave those prepared answers, even at times making disastrous blunders by commenting on the possible participation by a few Congress members in the 1984 Sikh riots. In some cases, the interviewee has attempted to turn the tables and question the interviewer himself!

sikh riots after rahul gandhis interviews The Face Off: Rahul Gandhi vs. Arnab Goswami

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders burn effigies of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi after his comments on 1984 riots in Amritsar in his Times Now interview. Jan.31, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

One might say that Rahul Gandhi’s heart is in the right place. Or at least, it seems to be. He definitely seems to have a very idealistic view of the future, where we may encounter empowered women, as well as a youth-led government formed by the Congress. He seemed very set upon the idea of an empowered youth and an empowered female body in the country, which is commendable. At the very least, he did not believe that men commit acts of violence against women because of Chinese food.

We, the people of India want change. We want change now and we really, really want to know the plan. There was no talk of present goals. And we don’t want to wait. We’ve waited enough. So it is harder and harder for us to believe that the rosy future promised will be the rosy future gained.

In my humble opinion, Rahul Gandhi made some pretty strong statements against corruption. Then why did he back out of them? When asked why Ashok Chavan was still being protected, Rahul Gandhi floundered. Why? Apparently, putting political parties under the Right to Information Act would ‘change the balance of power’. It would be a first when a politician made a statement and then didn’t back out. It seemed as if Rahul Gandhi’s conduct throughout the interview seemed to be rather timid, except when he defended his Cambridge degree, working within the tradition of Cambridge-Oxford hostility, former to which the interviewee owes his allegiance, latter to which the interviewer.

What I thought

Arnab Goswami, as we all know, is a great journalist, par excellence. But did he truly give Rahul Gandhi the space and time to answer his hard-hitting questions? Did the format not seem to be rather “nail the politician” from the very beginning of the interview?

arnab goswami memes The Face Off: Rahul Gandhi vs. Arnab Goswami

Throughout the interview, Arnab Goswami made concentrated attempts to keep the reigns of the same in his hands. Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to question. Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to think about his answers. Arnab Goswami seemed to want ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. He was impatient.  Yet, and with all due respect, did the discussion really have to traverse the boundaries of whether Rahul Gandhi has a thick skin or thin skin, and whether he will be able to put on weight on apparent thin skin?

Modi’s name was repeated roughly 28 times during the approximately 1.5 hour interview. Why was Rahul Gandhi was not asked how he plans to empower women in this country? Why was he not asked how he plans to bring more youth into the system? Why was he not asked how he plans to open up the Indian system? Why was he not questioned upon these aspects? These aspects, that aim to better our lives? Why was their no attempt to penetrate into the deeper issues?

Instead, we were all hungrily watching the TV screen, in the hopes of finding out what Rahul Gandhi’s response to being called ‘shehzada‘ by Narendra Modi is.

By Aarushi Maheshwari

Also See:
Why are Intelligence Agencies Reporting to Rahul Gandhi ?
The Politics of Rahul Gandhi’s Mother-fixation

Image Source: Arnab Goswami Memes@Facebook

Video Source: Frankly Speaking with Rahul Gandhi – Full Interview-Times Now@YouTube

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