Should Rahul be his Father’s Son ?

On Thursday I had the pleasure of dining with NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, probably the last dignified English TV news anchor we have. He was in city with his band of travelling journalists. The group consisted of the popular Author and Banker Ruchir Sharma, Psephologist Dorab Sopariwala, Economist Surjit Bhalla and a few others. They were travelling across Karnataka as part of election coverage and stopped in Mysuru before heading to Bengaluru.

The conversations were a smattering of journalism, corruption in the media, a little bit of media gossip and a lot of election talk. In the course of our meal, Economist Surjit Bhalla, while discussing how effective or ineffective Rahul Gandhi has been in Karnataka asked, “What can Rahul Gandhi change to be more effective?” I didn’t have an answer right away but it got me thinking. So what can Rahul change?

To begin with, he can stop mimicking Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The macho man image suits the Prime Minister. Modi can pull it off. His voice modulation, his body language, his sense of timing when it comes to humour and sarcasm makes him not only an effective communicator but also exudes confidence that people perceive as leadership.

On the other hand, when Rahul tries to match the PM he fails. Rahul’s speeches sound like screeches. His voice is unappealing. His aggression seems unauthentic. His words unconvincing. While our PM speaks and moves like a macho man, Rahul comes across as a chocolate hero.

In today’s hyper-visual media space, all these aspects matter in creating opinions and perceptions. As someone said, watching Modi is like watching Colors TV, full of drama and Rahul is like Comedy Central, full of gaffes.

More importantly, Modi is perceived as a man who can “get things done,” Rahul seems “indecisive.” May be, Rahul should stop trying to mimic Modi or his macho uncle Sanjay Gandhi and become like his father Rajiv Gandhi.

Narendra Modi and Sanjay Gandhi comparison crops up because they both are known to “get things done.” In fact, the legendary journalist Khushwant Singh featured Sanjay Gandhi on the cover of Illustrated Weekly magazine with a headline “Sanjay, the man who gets things done.”

Today Modi is perceived by many as a man  “who can get things done.”  Of course, it’s another matter that Sanjay Gandhi ended up becoming “a man who got things wrong” as he tried to find quick and simple solutions to complex problems.

Incidentally, Sanjay and Modi have many similarities — both obsessed over development and technology. Coincidentally, both helped start the first indigenous Indian cars — Maruti for Sanjay, Tata Nano for Modi. Also both have an image bigger than their party itself. And like Sanjay, Modi is in a hurry to change India, and has faltered like Sanjay — as in the case of demonetisation and hurried implementation of GST.

For now, BJP and millions of Indians have bullied Rahul Gandhi and reduced him to a joke and he has not been very effective in changing that perception. Sadly, for Rahul the Indian middle-class is looking for an authoritarian leader. May be, Congress needs Priyanka to counter Modi.

We may recall how in 2014 elections Priyanka put the BJP on the backfoot with her put-downs and cold remarks. Yes, there is a streak of aggressiveness in her that manifests in a more passionate way than her brother’s. Her stern statements are more effective than Rahul’s shrill bouts of anger. Even her handling of the media is as cold, stern and calculated as Modi’s.

For now, Rahul, while trying to be like Modi and his uncle Sanjay, should realise he is actually like his father. Like Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul too was a reluctant entrant to politics who is unable to break-free from the rules set up by the old fogies in the party. However, unlike his father, who was a quick learner, Rahul perpetually seems a political misfit.

Rajiv Gandhi may have been an “elitist” and a late entrant, but he was himself. May be, Rahul, instead of trying to act like a ‘political brawler,’ can be his ‘soft-spoken’ self. While Modi can be macho, Rahul can still win hearts with calm, well-thought-out and well-articulated arguments. Yes, a soft-spoken Prannoy Roy is as effective, if not more efficient than a brash Arnab Goswami.

But if Rahul insists on being aggressive like Modi in spite of failing at it, may be it is time for dialysis? Remember, a senior Congress leader sometime back pointed out that blood group is connected to being PM in the Gandhi family?! He had said that both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were O-ve (O negative) and they became Prime Ministers. But unfortunately, Sonia and Rahul belong to O+ve (O positive) blood group! But guess, who is O-ve? Priyanka Gandhi.

So, even if Rahul Gandhi fails, Congress has nothing to fear, for Priyanka Gandhi is always there.


View Comments (7)

  • But Sir, Priyanka Gandhi is saddled with a big hulk behind her, the most untrustworthy to all the Indians, her husband Odra, who may ultimately use her as a cat's paw to do what God only knows. Indians really fear that. This is the crux of Indian polity that is mightier than the GST, demonetization or all the jumlas put together. We shudder.

  • Yes, for some people, especially the ones who miss their good days under congress, this is darkness
    Here are the facts that the author conveniently left out ! One Modi can’t be everywhere and stop every bad thing that happens in a country with 1 billion population. Just to get though the corrupted brain, these things happened even during congress days! 4 million kasmiri Pandits did not run away, they were killed, their children raped before they decide to run away,?
    8500 families of Sikks were murdered and the murderers were protected by the Gandhi family! George must have liked it.
    The only difference was, if any bad thing happened, it was branded as a Hindu terror!
    Here is done truth that points to why these people are angry!
    Now congress is so angry, they want to impeach the Chief Justice of india! So, who should decide that is legal! Madam Sonia and her nincompoop son, with his band of clowns cheerleading him?
    Modi’s Swatch Bharath Abhiyan was not only to clean the streets of India but to clean Congress and Seculars out of India as well. When PM Narendra Modi started his campaign with the broomstick, sleepless nights has started to Congress and the fear has gradually taken place in pseudo Seculars Fort!
    Do you know why Congress and Seculars hate Modi? Do you know the basic reasons to create enmity with such a genuine person of India?
    Well, there are lots of reasons to bark over Modi. I wish to mention some of them as below:
    1. Abu Saleem in prison! 1993 case finally closed!
    2. Sasikala in prison!
    3. Ram Rahim in prison, again 2002 case!
    4. Finance Ministry knows exactly the quantum of black money which was circulated, who are the culprits, the ISI printed & black currency never came in as it’s being discovered as junked!
    5. Corruption has been eradicated in the South and North blocks!
    6. Aadhar will control every citizen going forward!
    7. 10 lakh bogus ration cards destroyed!
    8. 1,00,000 gas connections surrendered!
    9. Triple Talaq abolished!
    10. India relation with US and BRICS countries at its best got Pakistan listed as terror state!
    11. 45 lakh new income tax assesses!
    12. GST for single point taxation removed the concept of sales tax check posts shortening travel time for trucks, has brought in most of the unregulated business under the tax purview and saved millions of gallons of fuels wasted at sales tax check posts!
    13. Kashmir clean up almost getting to closing point with terror funding abolished by NIA raids and Jihadist being terminated
    14. Money laundered to Christian conversion missionaries has been blocked!
    15. 70% of India Saffronizedwhich will help faster decisions and uniformity in policies across India!
    16. 30 lakh money laundering NGO’s checked!
    17. MEA successfully brings in refugees negotiating with many Islamic countries!
    18. China in the verge of war has been tamed, checkmated and sent back!
    19. Islamic refugees from Myanmar stopped!
    20. NEET brings in fairness, destroys 25-50 Lakhs capitation fees, uniformity in medical opportunities and checks quota misuse!
    21. Cattle markets regulated!
    22. 2G, National Herald and Sunanda verdicts soon!
    23. Defence strengthened with new high-tech equipments from US and Israel!
    This is what we call achievements of Modi! He knows what he has to do for the sake of the nation and he will do, no matter how anti-nationalists bark at him.
    Tightening, Cleaning and Putting checks in the system almost complete! Going forward it will be performance Delivery!
    For the medium term we see a very solid track ahead of the Indian economy: IMF chief Lagarde . This was recently expressed by mid chief who is not RSS or BJP
    India expected to regain the fastest growing major economy tag next year with 7.4% growth, higher than China’s 6.5%
    IMF expects Indian economy to grow 8% in the medium term on the back of reforms
    Here are the past Achievements of Congress tat the author conveniently left out
    Congress looted India for 6 decades scams after scam . Last decade itself they looted 300,000 crores! Every single scam below was engineered by Sonia, Rahul and Vadra under the great economists like Manmohan Singh and visionaries like Chidambarm!
    The list is as follows:

    Bofors scam, a trademark scam of Gandhi family.
    Coal Scam: CAG calculated it to be to the tune of 1.86 Lakhs crores, whoops mind-boggling!
    2G Spectrum Scam: To the tune of 1.76 Lakhs crore!!
    Common Wealth Games scams: To the tune of 70,000 crores, involved parties Suresh Kalmadi, Sheila Dikshit, Robert Vadra amongst others
    Chopper Scam: Perfect example of bribery and corruption in India 610 Million!
    Tatra Truck scam: dirty defence deal
    Adarsh Housing scam: a building made for war widows, but flats occupied by Congress big wigs!
    Cash for vote scam in 2011
    Satyam Scam
    Telgi stamp paper scam
    Insurance Scam
    Other Scam and Scandals.

    And finally,

    Terrorists are agaist Modi

    Opposition parties against Modi

    News media big and small against Modi

    All looters who lost money in Demonetization have ganged up against Modi

    Pakistan against Modi

    China against Modi

    Seperatists agaist Modi

    Group of Muslims who support Owaisis agaist Modi

    Psedo secularists and opportunistic writers against Modilol

  • ಇಂದಿರಾ ಪ್ರಿಯದರ್ಶಿನಿ ನೆಹರೂ, ಇಂದಿರಾ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಎಂದಾದುದು ಸಹ ಸ್ವಾರಸ್ಯಕರ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆ. ಫಿರೋಜ್ ಜಹಾಂಗೀರ್ ಘಂಡಿಯನ್ನು ಅಳಿಯನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಒಪ್ಪದ ನೆಹರು, ಘಂಡಿಯನ್ನು ಗಾಂಧಿ ಎಂದು ಬದಲಿಸುವ ಮೂಲಕ 1942ರಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂದಿರಾ ಹಾಗೂ ಫಿರೋಜ್ ಗಾಂಧಿಯ ವಿವಾಹ ನೆರವೇರಿಸಿದರು. ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಇಂದಿರಾ ಪ್ರಿಯದರ್ಶಿನಿ ನೆಹರು, ಇಂದಿರಾ ಗಾಂಧಿಯಾದರು. ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯ ಚಳವಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡ ಗಾಂಧಿಯ ಪ್ರಭಾವಳಿ, ಆ ಹೆಸರನ್ನು ತಗುಲಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಇಂದಿರಾಗೆ ಅನಾಯಾಸವಾಗಿ ಲಭ್ಯವಾಯಿತು. ವಂಶ ಪಾರಂಪರ್ಯ ಆಡಳಿತ ಶಕೆಯ ಆರಂಭಕ್ಕೆ ನಾಂದಿಮಂತ್ರವೂ ಆಯಿತು. ನಂತರದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿಯಾಗಿ ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ಅಫ್ಘಾನಿಸ್ತಾನಕ್ಕೆ ಭೇಟಿ ನೀಡಿದ್ದ ಇಂದಿರಾ ಅಂದು ಬಾಬರ್ ಸಮಾಧಿ ಮುಂದೆ ನಮಾಜ್ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದು .
    So, these fake Gandhi's have nothing to do with Mahathma Gandhi, but just the leaches sucking Indian blood for 6 decades .

  • I had a good laugh reading this. Good piece of humor. Author seems to think Congress needs to go back to a family clan to revive the party instead of democratization of the party itself. He thinks this s not authoritarian while conveniently calling Modis governance authoritarian . Time for the author to go back to school and take a class on Journalism 101.