The complete write-up
‘Maybe you find me strange.’ Rahul Gandhi, the interviewee, says. ‘No, I don’t find you strange.’ Arnab Goswami, the interviewer, says, during Rahul Gandhi’s first formal television interviewer after beginning the active political career.
A line during the course of conversation, or the interview, a line repeated to support the viewpoint, a line repeated to help the other lines already spoken during the course of the conversation, the line sums up the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’ in clear terms.
It tells us something direct, that subtle point about the politician Rahul Gandhi that the nation so desperately wanted to understand. That interest, that necessity to know the politician Rahul Gandhi is fading.
Multiple factors have been responsible for it. Major among them are Rahul’s silence on many issues of national and social importance, Rahul’s delayed and ‘not up to the mark’ act on many issues and the mammoth scale of corruption attributed to the corruption of the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
But still, there is scope left for us to know him, for he is the face of the oldest and the mostly widely spread political outfit of the country. Even if not in office as the prime minister, he, by his position, wields significant power in the country. That applies for Rahul Gandhi and his party being in the opposition in the Parliament as well.
The nation needs to know the politician Rahul Gandhi.
And this line, during the course of the conversation during his first formal television interview tells clearly about who is the ‘politician Rahul Gandhi’.
On points where Rahul says that the interviewer may find ‘Rahul’ strange based on his answers during the conversation gives us a window to look into how Rahul thinks.
And what Rahul thinks constitutes for strange has become frustratingly routine for India. Becoming of that a ‘routine’ has been ironical for India. And it may well become ‘ironically routine’ for the Congress party if a transformation doesn’t come.
There can be alternative ways to look at it.
It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is subscribed to his viewpoint only believing what he thinks for India’s future is imperative for India and there is no one else but Rahul himself and his party (in the political spectrum) who can achieve it.
It tells us the politician Rahul Gandhi is someone who believes what he thinks deserves to be thought and propagated and what others expect from him may or may not matter. His viewpoint is deep and others’ superficial.
It tells us Rahul believes that the negative factors against Congress and the UPA government can be tackled by giving the people their chance to participate in the process of the ‘politics of change’.
It tells us Rahul believes the negatives factors, an absolutely high anti-incumbency, senseless acts leading to price-rise in every segment and senseless statements on price-rise, epidemic level of political corruption, are not that negative and are hyped up, blaming the media to be unfair of targeting his party and his party’s government.
It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is not fully aware how difficult it has become to handle the indifference to the Congress party.
It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who still thinks he is in his experimental days of politics and thinks people still think of his ideas as revolutionary, as game-changers. He still thinks people see him as the ‘politician with a difference’ that he initially sounded to be.
It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who still believes people take his family members’ views as true, honest, accepting whatever they say on its face-value.
It tells us about a politician Rahul Gandhi who is talking out of the context of the social and political reality of the India of the day, a social reality where the common man has become so frustrated with the present political system that he prefers a debutant like the Aam Aadmi Party; a political reality where every politician promises to be different and devoted to the cause of the common man when it comes to the elections, but starts behaving as the ruler once he assumes the office.
Then there is an alternative way to look at it, the ‘can also be’ way, on what this line spoken by Rahul Gandhi during his first formal television interview tells us about the politician Rahul Gandhi.
It can also tell us Rahul Gandhi is a mismatch to the political ecosystem of the Congress party as he thinks on high values of a democracy and wants to inculcate the culture in the nation but has not been able to push his ideas further because of the inherent obstacles existent in the work-culture of the Congress party.
If it is so, then it tells us about the fading magnetism of the Nehru-Gandhi family for the Congress politicians, but that is one highly unlikely scenario in the prevailing political circumstances of the country.
If it is so, then it tells us Rahul Gandhi sees an opportunity now to push his agenda further, when the grand old party of India is facing a historically low credibility crisis and other Congress politicians are in no position to raise points of objection.
But these are just the unlikely viewpoints that present an aspect of the Rahul Gandhi persona that suggest what he could have been.
On point of clarity, the most likely and the ‘direct, most possible’ interpretation of Rahul’s ‘may be, you find me strange’, in the prevailing circumstances, is – Rahul Ganndi is ‘still misreading the social and political reality of India and his family’s and Congress’ positioning in all this’.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/