It was good to see Mr. Rahul Gandhi open up and answer queries on growth, development, inclusion, decentralisation, and Mr. Modi (“It’s a contest of two competing ideas of India,” April 24). I got to see a clearer perspective of Mr. Gandhi’s views which were never evident earlier. What caught my attention was Mr. Gandhi’s reference to the 70 crore people above the poverty line but below middle class income. Now, this section of the population I hope other parties and politicians will take notice of. Although I am not really a Congress fan, I have to admit that the MGNREGA, on the whole, has been a success and a safety net for the poor.
Mr. Gandhi’s ocean-like calmness has come to the fore. His sense of detachment from even the high office of prime ministership, as well as his readiness to take up any challenge are laudable and bodes well for the Congress. What appealed to me the most in the interview was his deep reverence toward Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, even calling him a “guru.”
Rahul Gandhi gives the impression that losing elections is not the end of the road. Losing his father at a young age, and in tragic circumstances, is perhaps what has shaped him this way. His maturity, even when provoked, is clear. He gives the impression of being a patient man.
It was good to hear what the young leader feels about collective leadership. Though the Congress is said to be facing a difficult time in this election, no one can deny the fact that it has ushered in progress in the last 10 years.
For the political opponents of Rahul Gandhi, the interview has revealed that he is no more a fledgling. He is brave and unfazed by criticism; nor is he afraid to take up responsibility. But what readers might have felt missing is the lack of any “inconvenient” questions about corruption.
It was good to see Rahul Gandhi opening up. However his arguments are tepid. When he says that it is a clash between two visions of India — that of the Congress and Mr. Modi’s — does he mean the vision of India in the Congress’ view as it exists today? Where over 80 per cent of the population still needs special provisions to stave off hunger deaths; where a large part of the population does not have access to basic amenities; and where citizens are forced to pay bribes even to have access to their fundamental needs? If Rahul really wants to show that he is a man of vision, then, like his father Rajiv Gandhi who pushed for the digital era and the end of licence raj, he has to wean the party away from the older Congress vision.
Prem Kumar Gutty,
Overall, this was indeed a good and coherent interview, but unfortunately a bit too late as more than 40 per cent of the country has already cast its vote. The UPA has delivered higher GDP growth in the 10-year period; 140 million people have moved out of dire poverty; production of foodgrains is up by 30 per cent. This is hard data and the UPA should take credit for this, made possible by the hard work put in by P.V. Narasimha Rao and Dr. Singh. Unfortunately, I have yet to see a media house making any effort to present this data in a coherent form and weave a political debate around it.
The decade of UPA rule has been one of economic breakdown and poor growth. Rahul Gandhi is silent about the huge scams. Failure to bring back black money is a major crime by the UPA. He also conveniently forgets how he insulted the Prime Minister with his “nonsense” remark over a Cabinet decision. Defending failed policies will not help the party.
One is disappointed by Rahul Gandhi’s replies — cliché-ridden rhetoric and banal catchphrases. His talk about partnership with business and crony capitalism smacks of hypocrisy in the context of the 2G and coal allocation scams which happened under UPA-II. If the BJP is hubristic, is not the Congress party’s refusal to own up responsibility for corruption and price rise under its rule also a sign of hubris? If the government’s performance has been impressive as claimed by him, why is the party facing the prospect of losing power? To his credit, Rahul Gandhi considers that the war is not over until the last battle has been fought in the electoral arena. But he has said nothing which will prompt the voters to consider giving his party another chance.
Mr. Gandhi has to first set party affairs right before criticising Mr. Modi. One can list a number of leaders in the Congress who have been sidelined by the Nehru-Gandhi family. One cannot think of a single State leader now who can influence people. Even Rahul Gandhi has failed to motivate the youth. In that sense, Mr. Modi is exceptional.
The interview offered no value addition to its readers. His repetitive assertions that the Congress had done so much in its 10 years of rule sounds hollow. Quite interestingly, the interviewer chose to put across convenient questions that could be safely answered by any underprepared respondent. Would The Hindu have devoted so much space for an interaction with Mr. Modi?
The interviewer no doubt asked a variety of questions, but we, the youth, would have loved to read Mr. Gandhi’s view on his laxity in Coalgate, Railgate, the 2G scam and others which occurred due to governmental indecisiveness. Had Mr. Gandhi flagged them then, the pre-poll election predictions would have been totally different.
The BJP campaign today may be about one individual, but for the last several decades the Congress’ campaign has been about one family alone. It is amusing to have him applaud Mr. Nandan Nilekani at a time when his brainchild, the Aadhaar card, has turned out to be a flop and fiasco.
Seshagiri Row Karry,