How He Turned The Tables: The Rahul Gandhi Interview

If you are looking for a parody or, more appropriately, a lame attempt at humour, then please skip this.

Rahul Gandhi may not be a great subject for a television interview, he may not even turn out to be a good political leader, but on the much-touted first-ever interview in 10 years (he clarified on camera that this was not the first, but the first formal one!) he did exactly what he set out to do. Say his piece. What seemed like repetition, if not ducking, was a strategy he adopted to bludgeon the inquisitor softly, if not tire him out.

Some in the media have dubbed this a Rahul vs. Arnab fight. I am amazed at the ignorance. No one, I repeat no one, in the higher echelons of power will give such a big interview without vetting the queries. Therefore, Rahul Gandhi must certainly have been aware of what Arnab Goswami (AG) would ask. If AG added specific queries later, then isn’t it funny that at the beginning of the interview he makes it clear and RG says “You can draw me back as much as you want” but would he be okay if he took a broader look? Think about it. Besides, it does not take rocket science (ahem, those Bharat Nirman ads) to figure out what the nation as filtered by the media would want to know. As he said:

"I have done a little media interaction, prior to this. I have done press conferences & spoken to the media. But mainly bulk of my focus has been on internal party work and that's where I have been concentrating, that is where most of my energy was going."

In the latter half I will reproduce some salient points, with quick notes.

First, the minutiae: This was not a live interview; it was conducted at Jawahar Bhavan; it lasted for a little under 90 minutes. According to The Telegraph:

But sources said the Congress leadership wanted to ensure that Rahul’s “outing” should be with a journalist who has a reputation for being unsparing. An off-the-record session between Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Goswami, over pakoras and tea, also helped pave the ground for the interview, the sources said.

It just so happens that those who are building up this “unsparing” interviewer have rather short or selective memories. Some of us do recall his almost obsequious questioning of Bal Thackeray; even Raj Thackeray has managed to stand firm. So, let us not create heroes only because we need to look down on certain people.

Let us talk about some problem areas.

Why was RG not being specific?

Why should he? He will do so in his speeches when he addresses the nation, not for revenue-run TRP-driven media. Has Times Now donated to the Congress Party’s election campaign? Is there a quid pro quo? No.

Arnab did his business of mentioning names – as the tagline of his show states – and Rahul spoke about the issue. Yes, the issues are more important. It is the system that deals with individual offenders. If he took the names, or repeated them after AG, he would be a bloody stupid politician and VP of his party.

Why did he not take the Modi bait?

This was by far the best thing Rahul could have done. He treated Narendra Modi as just another guy. The persistent questioning about whether he would agree to a debate with the Gujarat CM elicited what I thought was a perfect clincher: “The debate is already going on.” This effectively took the battle to where it belongs – outside the TV studios.

Why did he not apologise for the anti-Sikh riots of 1984?

What would he achieve by doing so? Get brownie points from the viewers and a pat on the back from the media, with Times going berserk by claiming that it was their channel that brought about this major penance? The PM and Sonia Gandhi have both apologised, and if RG has to do so it needs to be done to the people who are waiting for justice.

Why did he not come clean about his degrees?

Here you have an anchor who has netted a huge catch, and he is quoting a shark lapping in the shallows. Arnab brought in Subramanian Swamy to put RG on the mat regarding his educational qualifications. With all his Ivy League credentials, Swamy comes across as an uncouth man. Besides, how is it important? This Oxford-Cambridge showing off might appeal to the urban upper middle class, not the majority of the population.

Has anybody bothered to check for how long exactly Modi ran a tea stall that he is using as his new USP? Is there any evidence of it?

Why did he not commit on the Aam Aadmi Party?

Simple. The AAP is not one that sticks to its own word, so how can anybody else? Here is one bit from the interview

Arnab: Are you using the AAP to split the Anti Congress vote bank, to keep Mr. Modi out of power
Rahul: You are implying that we have brought the AAP...

This was really giving it to those ones in the politest of tones.

Why did he keep repeating about RTI, empowerment of women, the system?

Because these are crucial subjects, though they don’t sound terribly sexy. Indeed, he used these terms to also answer unrelated queries, but as I said at the beginning, he was here to say his piece.

We have got so accustomed in the past few months to war cry rallies and dharnas that someone who comes across as vulnerable, yet refusing to fall prey, is not easy to accept. Calling Rahul Gandhi a fool might prove to be our biggest fallacy.

Here is how he answered some of the questions, from Modi to being attacked, and why moving off-track sometimes seemed to be just the right move:

On Modi

“In my life I have seen my grandmother die, I have seen my father die, I have seen my grandmother go to jail and I have actually been through a tremendous amount of pain as a child when these things happen to you, what I had to scared of I lost, there is absolutely nothing I am scared of. I have an aim, I have a clear aim in my mind and the aim is that I do not like what I see in Indian politics, it is something that is inside my heart. It is like in our mythology when they talk about Arjun, he only sees one thing, he does not see anything else, you asked me about Mr. Modi you ask me about anything and the thing that I see is that the system in this country needs to change, I don't see anything else and I am blind to everything else. I am blind because I saw people I love destroyed by the system.”

Ergo: He does not care about Modi.

On right to information

“I am the first person who has been saying over the last five years, talking about transparency in the party. I have made the Youth Congress and the NSUI fully elected bodies. I have spoken about the six bills in parliament. I have spoken about the Lokpal Bill and I have pushed the Lokpal Bill. I was involved in the RTI. We worked together to bring the RTI. So as far as transparency in the political party is concerned I am absolutely for transparency. There are questions about the RTI that need to be discussed and thought through. The real question is that our system is based on different pillars. And the question is which ones of these pillars should have RTI…Am I for opening up? Am I for bringing RTI into as many places possible? Absolutely. Am I for creating an imbalance and weakening the legislative structures of this country. No I am not.”

RTI enthusiasts should note that it could be misused. (This is what I had written in an earlier piece.)

On his silence regarding the scams

“My position was that I report to the Prime Minister. Whatever I felt I had conversations with the Prime Minister. Whatever I felt about the issues I made it abundantly clear to the Prime Minister. I was involved in the legislation, RTI legislation. And now I have helped pass the Lokpal Bill. I bring you back. The real issue here is participation of people in politics. It is bringing youngsters into the political system, it's opening out the political system. That's where nobody wants to talk. Everybody is perfectly happy with 500 people running the entire system in India. Nobody, none of you want to raise that issue. The fundamental issue. How do we chose candidates?”

By reporting to the PM he obviously meant he discussed it with the PM, instead of with Arnab Goswami.

On alliances

“Our alliance in Bihar is with a political party with an idea not an individual, we are making alliance, and it is not certain that we are going to make an alliance, we are in process of talking to people and our alliance is with an idea, with a party, not an individual.”

What is wrong about this? When was the last time we heard a politician talk about ideas? We have to lump coalition politics; he is telling us beforehand what will swing it.

On possible defeat of the Congress

“If we don't win, I am the VP of the party of course I will take responsibility for it.”

On name-dropping

“I don't actually keep invoking my family name, I have mentioned my family name once or twice and then people report that. The real issue is that I didn't choose to be born in this family, I didn't sign up and say that I like to be born in this family it happened, so the choice in front of me is pretty simple I can either turn around and say okay I will just walk away from this thing and leave it alone or I can say I can try and improve something. Pretty much every single thing I have done in my political career has been to bring in youngsters , has been to open up, has been to democratise. I am absolutely against the concept of Dynasty, anybody who knows me knows that and understands that. But you are not going to wish away Dynasty in a closed system, you have to open the system. Dynasty or children of politicians becoming powerful happens in the BJP, it happens in the DMK, it happens in the SP, it happens in the Congress party, it happens everywhere.”

Nothing to add.

On being attacked

“I respond by understanding why I'm being attacked. I'm being attacked because I'm doing things that are dangerous to the system. I'm being attacked because I'm asking questions that are dangerous to the system. And I'm not asking superficial questions. I'm not asking questions over here (pointing at the ceiling). I'm asking questions over there (pointing to the ground). And everybody understands that this fellow here is not just a superficial chap who talks. This fellow over here is thinking deeply and is thinking long term. That's why I'm attacked. I understand that. And frankly, attack me all you want. Beat me to death. It's not going to stop me. I'm going to keep doing it. And I'm going to ask the questions that are relevant.”

This is exactly what he did. For, how many people are going to vote or not vote based on 2G, Adarsh, Coalgate? Is not Modi ruling despite the riots of 2002? Did not the Congress return to power after the Emergency and 1984, and the BJP after Babri? Having said this, RG will have to push the system to expedite the judicial process and respect it.

On being a ‘reluctant prince’

“If you look at my spirit, regardless of what I do, if I'd been born in India, regardless of what I do, I don't like unfairness. It just makes my blood boil. I don't like it. And in whatever I did, if I saw unfairness, I would stand up against it. That's the heart of my politics.”

Rahul Gandhi may not win the elections for the Congress Party; he may not become prime minister now or ever. But, if he continues to fight unfairness, then that should goad many to do so.

The fact that many in the opposition, and even those who have suddenly discovered “balance”, are behaving like a cat on a hot tin roof, even though they call it rolling on the floor laughing, is proof that he has touched a nerve.

PS: I won’t even bother with a disclaimer. If you want to understand what a critique is, click on the label. Or keep your peace.

© Farzana Versey


  1. Nice. you are an intellectually dishonest cretin, and everyone else is not an idiot. thoo.

  2. FV,

    Rahul Gandhi is a politician. But you too shave deftly given a go-by to some issues.

    1. Rahul Gandhi's flat denial of any wrongdoing on part of Congress party in 1984 has curiously escaped your attention. His statements reflected ignorance at best and falsehood at worst. But since he is a certified sekulaar, he is perhaps, above such queries. And of course, there is the famous Arundhati Roy argument : "Congress does by night what BJP does by day. Therefore BJP is communal and Congress secular!"
    2. You approvingly say that Rahul treated Narendra Modi as just another politician, something you as a columnist-blogger have failed on numerous occasions to ensure, ignoring reminders thereto by some humble readers-commentators. Duplicity? Nah, perish the thought!
    3. You find that Subramanian Swamy comes across as uncouth in spite of his Ivy League credentials. I suspect it is for no other reason than his well-articulated views on matters of religion. Enough to condemn a person, right? Besides, to quote you back, how is it important?

    Passing judgements on any person based on his/her attitude, language or suavity reflects bias and an unwillingness to engage with the issues brought up.
    4. QUOTE: "..He will do so (i.e. be specific) in his speeches when he addresses the nation, not for revenue-run TRP-driven media.."

    No. It should actually be the opposite. In a public speech which is mostly a monologue, there is nobody to ask questions, so a person can talk about RTI all the time if the people are willing to stay on and listen (or even if they aren't!). But in an interactive session, a correlation between questions and answers is expected, regardless of whether the interview is aimed at TRPs or otherwise.

    I, of course, respect your opinion. Perhaps, you will now permit me to post identical generic comments about Jihadi violence and Islamic fundamentalism under all Sunday Ka Funda pieces. :)
    5. I am exhilarated to see you acknowledging that larger issues and root causes are more important than individuals and random incidents. It took a sekulaar to convince a sekulaar. Rahul Gandhi will be thrilled for sure. :)

  3. FV, hi,
    Clean cut,
    Rahul did right to ignore a single person & his attacks. Its the larger pic that matters.

    An apology, as a 13year old in 1984, but as VP of INC, though already the rest above & below have done it; as a kid in existence then may be to the community, not the IVer or MSM.
    Being a sensitive person he does not deny it, though it may only be used by vested elements.

    For MSM it may be sensational to pit Vile Monster, Shrewd Dharnavi, Lacking Kiddo. But for people, society, nation the lookout is for deeper. India cant afford a cleaver leader, leave alone a PM. We dont need creepy remotecontrollers from shadows or arbitrary gods from self-pedelled pedestals.

    Thro the IV he never refused a question, never showed angst, never cried foul, never cried 'Red', never cried anti-blahblah, never declared IVer persona nongrata. Thats good beginning,tolerance.

    If big speakers can make best admins then we dont need to look beyond Public Speech Forums. Big talkers are theoretical paper tigers pulling rabbits out of hats. There this guy comes out as human, with strength & weakness blended in. Perfect design is for machines and monsters.

    Most of all this guy does not scheme cunning patterns. That matters to human amidst us.

    This IV & your article are eyeopeners on some unseen dimensions to him.
    Thanks, TC.

  4. This is crap...trying to find sense in a puddle

    1. As crap as the interview answers RG gave

    2. This attempt is simply a failure to defend a extremely corrupt organization by trying to sound neutral.
      We the people have had enough BS from this moral less family and their greed.

  5. Good analysis Farzana.

  6. Walk the Talk.....After #Rahul, it's time for #Modi to face Arnab Goswami - will he? ......http://www.wishesh.com/top-stories/33491-after-rahul-its-time-for-modi-to-face-arnab-goswami-will-he.html

    Rahul Gandhi, the young Congress vice-president not only shushed some of his detractors by giving his first television interview....

    1. and gave his detractors a proof how idiotic he is

    2. Modi has already had a personal interview with Arnab.

  7. Thank you for an excellent analysis. For once, you wrote what RG said and not what the social media he(a)rd or imagined. Brave. Most folks don't understand that they are falling for their image of the man. When a politician gives an answer he wants to give and not what the interviewer or the audience want to hear, he's is good. And RG didn't duck any questions and didn't run away either.

    1. didnt duck any questions? are you sure you saw the right interview?

      Goswami: The growing belief is that if Rahul Gandhi has not picked up the challenge officially that means that there is a fear of loss, he is avoiding a direct one on one battle with Narendra Modi, you must answer that? 

 Rahul Gandhi: To understand that question you have to understand a little bit about who Rahul Gandhi is and what Rahul Gandhi's circumstances have been and if you delve into that you will get an answer to the question of what Rahul Gandhi is scared off and what he is not scared off. The real question is what I am doing sitting here, you are a journalist, when you were small you must have said to yourself I want to do something, you decided to become a journalist at some point, why did you do that?

      If this is not ducking, i dont know what is

  8. his idea of changing the system is awesome, but he has many challenges to overcome from his own party and from BJP - a mature politician and may I say it was a good interview

  9. I'm surprised you actually let people comment here, knowing how people like to 'give their gyaan' about the whole RG vs NM topic.

    Coming to your blog; food for thought perhaps.

  10. What a load of crap!
    Farzana Versey - How much did Congress pay you to write this bullshit blog. Do you seriously believe RG turned tables in the said interview?
    However, I agree with your point that all the questions must have been known to him beforehand. Having known this fact, I was amazed at the level of RG's underpreparedness. AG did not touch upon many sensitive matters though - point in case Robert Vadra. I was hoping he asked one Vadra question. Alas, I was being too hopeful! :)

  11. You forgot one thing, that is body language. If you saw the same interview as I did, you can see an unprepared, inexperienced man reiterating something that was told to him. He probably learned to mimic some mannerisms by watching somebody's interview, like constantly moving his eyes when grasping a question, closing both eyes to fetch some profound thought etc.. does it not seem like some one who is trying to not look stupid?

    1. Perfect analysis. To me he appeared to be a school student who had mugged some answers which he kept repeatimg like a parrot regardless of the question posed

  12. This is probably the most facetious analysis I have read in recent times. It smacks of a partisan view, of defending the indefensible, of protecting the incompetent and of trying to find a logic behind something that was completely involuntary.

    Your prejudice stands quite exposed. The entire nation is not foolish to be echoing the same sentiment.

    The tables were not turned... Rahul Gandhi was desperately trying to hide under the table... except that there was no table.

  13. Thank you all for reading, despite my warning in the first sentence. Grateful.

    Meanwhile, you might like to cast your eyes upwards towards the new 'old' post, and a couple of links.


    Also, If you don't have the energy, and you like a chorus, why not visit here:



  14. Patience, dear patience!. That was for me only.

    If Rahul Gandhi did not want to answer specific questions on specific issues or persons, he could have delivered another speech to his captive audience at AICC sesssion. They would have clapped madly & licked his feet, as madly.

    He chose to give an interview, or was advised / instructed to give one, but why? To answer create a situation where questions can be put to him and he can answer them.

    In an interview, if he repeats his mindless & unrelated blabbering to each question, why was he there at all?

    By the way, RJD being an idea was definitely hillarious. What is the idea, may I ask? Takeover of the party by family when head of family gets convicted? Does gel well with dynastic principles of Congress.

    Dear, Sycophancy has its limits, kindly do not cross them.

    1. In the scheme of Congress if RJD is an idea then would it be illogical to conclude that aap is vodafone?

  15. I am glad I am not the only one withthese views. I saw the interview 2 times and frankly, I didnt see what others saw. First I blamed my bent of politics but later I figured, apart from new natural lapses or lets say incoherent lines, RG did really well. And I am not saying this becasue a certain other walks off. On its own it was good attempt. Kudos.


  16. F&F:

    My talking about Modi here is vastly different from RG, or any political leader, giving him undue importance. I didn't think that would be so difficult to grasp.

    Re. Subramanian Swamy, you say:

    {Passing judgements on any person based on his/her attitude, language or suavity reflects bias and an unwillingness to engage with the issues brought up.}

    What issue is somebody's degree? Also, why would I find him uncouth because of his views on religion — what exactly are his views? Have you heard him dismiss an activist on national TV (Arnab's show) by saying all Naxalites believe in free sex? 

    The rest of the points we have been through before. 

  17. Venu:

    Your comment grabbed me because I am big on body language. 

    You say:

    {does it not seem like some one who is trying to not look stupid?}

    I have problems with two negatives in a sentence. If we simplify it, it implies it seems like he was trying to look stupid. The operative words is 'seems'. A matter of perception, and entirely valid. 

    But, did you notice how the interview was set up? You got a profile of RG or extreme closeups, while Arnab loomed large and bent forward like a pugilist. I happen to have watched his media interactions on the road, and he is definitely more spontaneous. 

    He stayed the course, and if his blinking etc seemed designed to you, then one can say quite a few things about other postures. 

    Regarding what all this implied, I've said it all, at least as far as this interview is concerned. 

    PS: There are quite a few opinions on whether Rodin's Thinker was thinking or not...

  18. Final quick replies:

    Bee, Atul, Wishesh, Serish, Rizwan, Yunus (I am kind!), Abhishek...thank you. 

    To the Anon, I feel vindicated by the great intellectual classy 'spitting' here. 

    To the others who have cussed, hope you feel better and lighter. 

    Now, would you read this second para? 

    Rahul Gandhi may not be a great subject for a television interview, he may not even turn out to be a good political leader, but on the much-touted first-ever interview in 10 years (he clarified on camera that this was not the first, but the first formal one!) he did exactly what he set out to do. Say his piece. What seemed like repetition, if not ducking, was a strategy he adopted to bludgeon the inquisitor softly, if not tire him out. 

    In the rush, you probably did not notice. Understandable.

    And instead of counting how many times he said what, how about reading the transcript of the whole interview? Just a suggestion. 

    PS: I have had my say on this one. The good, the bad, the ugly.

  19. nice off-beat take. good arguments. but truth and expectations of the nation are somewhere else.

  20. As quoted in RG interview. "His heart is in the right place". But sadly and very apparently his mind is not. Like all his speaches, this interview was one mind nubbing experience. Best one doesnt attempt to make any sense
    of it!

  21. This blog shows the filth of a perverted mind

  22. Wooow, Congrats Farzana. You said exactly what I was thinking. Hats off to you, Im impressed. You now, the media especially Times is all out to spoil Rahul's name. Such a big debate and discussion for what. Can he make Modi come for an interview. First of all he cant speak English properly. Rahul is a class apart. These media guys are just pulling the unwanted stuff and blowing it out of proportion. Can you publicise this article as much as possible.

  23. Let me enumerate my thoughts on reading the transcript.

    1. There was a mismatch of approaches from RG and AG. AG's approach was a Q&A session, where one questions, other answers. RG's was of a debate, wherein one puts forth an argument, and other counter argues, with a point, which may not answer first point, but raises a new point. The viewer upon seeing this will definitely think on seeing this mismatch, that whether the second person is so stupid, that he can't even answer a simple question.

    2. My second thought was, RG has got greatly inspired by the success of the Chinese. The reasons for success he has identified are:

    a. Opportunities for talented persons within the communist party to rise in echelons of power.

    b. Opportunities to women to participate in economic activities.

    c. Opportunities to become a manufacturing hub.

    On flipside, he sees lack of transparency in China as creating a problem.

    If the above is considered , the emphasis on inner party democracy, women empowerment, RTI and manufacturing is clearer.

    Not that he is right completely, congress is not a single party like communist . Nevertheless, this is his thought process.

    3. If we take corporate analogy, I think he sees himself as the single largest shareholder of govt, run by a professional management run by MMS. Hence , he has never ever considered himself to be a part of executive decisions of MMS govt. However, as MP, he sees himself as a legislator and has influenced legislation like RTI. and when he criticized MMS when a legislation was being brought as ordinance, without consulting MPs.

  24. I hadn't seen the interview until I read this article... I had to see if there was a sense in this article. So went to youtube.
    But it wasn't pretty at all.. I mean, for a man supposedly leading a large party that is planning to do a hatrick, with him at the helm.
    I think he's trying hard to be some one who he is not.. Let him have a life of his own. They better look for another leader.
    The disclaimers in the article are statements that he "may not turn out to be a good political leader". Why is he in the place he is? and he did duck questions.. in some other fashion.

    How good will it be when a journalist would have to interpret it in the most constructive way and explain to the public..:)

  25. I work in a scientific discipline and often write/edit scientific reports. Generally (and this is based on personal experience and criticism is welcome), scientific reports that are written by non-experts or people who are not familiar with the subject matter show a tendency to repeatedly use a few tag lines and phrases to put across their point of view. This, in my opinion, is because they lack an in-depth knowledge of the subject. A person who is well-read and well-informed about the scientific discipline usually invokes multiple arguments, draws from different source materials, piles on evidence after evidence using numerous references to convince the reader of the veracity of his claims.

    The performance of Mr. Gandhi in the interview shows symptoms of a lack of depth on issues being discussed which perhaps makes him fall to the few phrases he has been able to master over the years. I just watched 4 of his speeches spread over the last four to five years (ask for links if you want to see them). In these speeches too, he has used the word Women Empowerment, RTI, Youth, etc. umpteen times. "Lokpal" was absent from these speeches for obvious reasons. It was passed only recently and is now part of his vocabulary.

    There is no denying the fact Mr. Gandhi has been through terrible emotional and personal tragedies in his formative years. And surely the "system" was responsible for most if not all of it. But do these tragedies bestow him with credentials to be the Vice President of a major political party? I find Mr. Goswami to be a rabble-rousing and confrontational journalist whose style has party obscured the fundamental question the interview perhaps set out to answer.

    Does he have the credential to be the Prime Minister of India?

    He has never been an astute academician who turned India's economic fortune in the 90's (Manmohan Singh) or a presumably incorruptible parliamentarian who was in the political life for fifty years before becoming PM (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) or someone who fought for India's independence alongside Mahatma Gandhi and wrote a comprehensive history of India using his towering intellect (Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru) or an incorruptible person who died a pauper while ensuring victory for India in the war against pakistan (Lal Bahadur Shashtri).

    Are these comparison unfair in the face of a call for youth to share the burden of governance. Perhaps! But shouldn't this youth have credentials that justify his ascend to the highest elected office of the country! Surely, being a youth is no credential!!

    But then what exactly are his credentials?!

  26. Why this disclaimer of this blog being a parody or an attempt at humor? It is a satirical piece par excellence! And your transactional analysis of Rahul by every bite chases his supporters running for cover! Deadpan! The only pity is that Rahul is going to believe your statements. Poor guy doesn't know AG was far kinder!

  27. Point by point rebuttal:

    Why was RG not being specific?

    Why should he not ? What was the whole purpose of agreeing to the interview if not to showcase to the nation what RG’s thoughts and opinions are. The interview was not for Times Now’s benefit per se, it was to bolster RG’s image makeover as part of the 500 cr extravaganza. They already know that no one watches RG’s speeches and even less understand his rambling on theoretical topics. This was supposed to be an opportunity for the nation to get to know him better through his thoughts.

    Why did he not take the Modi bait?

    Treating NaMo as “just another guy” is exactly like the habit of burying one’s head in the sand to ward off anything scary. If he fails to recognize his principal opponent, which illusory world does he live in? The debate with NaMo just isn’t going on because RG is so scared of a one to one and he knows that he would never stand a chance.

    Why did he not apologise for the anti-Sikh riots of 1984?

    I agree with you on this one. Nothing could have been achieved by any apology. Correction: Sonia has never apologized, not that it would have mattered, just as an apology from Ajmal Kasab wouldn’t have lessened his punishment.

    Why did he not come clean about his degrees?

    It’s not about degrees or qualifications. It’s about common sincerity. If a would-be PM lies about a basic thing such as his educational qualification, what else is he lying about? I think you can go and investigate for how long Modi ran the tea stall as a child... even if he ran it for a day, it would be more struggle than RG has done in his life.

    Why did he not commit on the Aam Aadmi Party?

    Because he has never committed on anything,ever.

    Why did he keep repeating about RTI, empowerment of women, the system?

    What was his “piece” ? Was this supposed to be a monologue ? Was it titled “Frankly LISTENING with Arnab Goswami” ?

  28. Seems you have been RahulGandhied. :)

  29. Farzana:You have given a fabulous & correct analysis of the interview. While others were busy cracking jokes at Rahul Gandhi, you made superb use of your time and presented a perspective that escaped most minds but reflects in reality, the immaculate handling of the situation by Congress Vice President. Congratulations

  30. Farzana: I have gone through your post in detail. Read through it and tried to be as objective as possible. Unfortunately, this still does not convince me that what RaGa gave as an interview was what I would expect from a part VP who is touted as the next PM.

    Even in your post, there are places where you have written: Ergo. You, decoding him, for me, a reader. I did not want that from him.

    I wanted him to be precise, concise and be able o communicate his view correctly. I do believe he has a vision. I do believe that he has a thought. But i do not want it communicated via well-written and proof-read speeches. I do not want them through orchestrated interviews.

    Yes, one may argue that ArGo was not going to give him any speech time unless he replies only what he's expected to. Look at it this way - If a person cannot get his point across in the clutter and can be arm twisted into NOT saying what he intends to by the reporter, how will he face up to global negotiations? As VP (and PM designate, almost), he will be faced with all these challenges. f he cannot make a point, and get his way with it, I have a problem. I am worried about India's future.

    I am a strong believer that two very opposing views can exist in a society, and as such I respect what you have written. I just do not agree to it. Not in its totality anyway.

  31. Critique of your argument - http://www.niticentral.com/2014/01/30/why-rahul-baba-failed-to-impress-nation-184837.html

  32. Sudhir:

    What can I say? So, I gather a Congress spokesperson tweeted about this post. What can I do, and how does that alter anything? Don't people flash media reports right inside Parliament to make a point?

    Anyhow, thanks for the link.


    To the Anon who thinks this is satire, much as I would like to ride on this, it would be a lie. There are panned deadpan moments, like the non-disclaimer at the beginning, the dig at the Bharat Nirman ads, the 'ergo'...and a few others. In essence, though, I was straightforward.


    In the 'anon' deluge even some interesting comments have been left out.


    Try a Thesaurus for idiot, moron. Becomes tedious to read.

  33. I appreciate the time and effort at least a few of you have expended. It is good to always have a debate. I cannot reply to everyone, and will certainly not to those who indulge in name-calling. This is to share a response I sent (there have been a few emails – some agreeing, some not), which probably conveys what I think best. (The content would convey the questions posed or ‘other’ positions taken by some.):

    I would like to state here that mine was not so much a defence of Rahul Gandhi's "performance" as a reading of the content. In fact, I have issues with the emphasis on performance in mainstream media.

    A few points…

    His emphasis on personal pain does not negate other pains. This was in context; had he responded to Dalit/SC issues with his pain business I would have judged him differently.

    He did not speak in Hindi because the show is in English. And I do believe that he or any leader ought to spell out their views while addressing the junta, not pampered TV anchors. Had he said what was in his mind, there is no guarantee that it would be the truth. Thoughts are not manifestoes. The common man does not know that the system needs to change; s/he only knows that they need food, shelter, employment. They know that their lives need to change, not the system.

    It is naïve to expect any politician to spell out how they will bring about change. Modi talks development. We ought to be thrilled with it, then.

    Yes, there are views that he sounded “wimpish” etc. I choose not to fall into that. I don’t even call Modi an idiot or monster.

    Also, I do not judge anybody on the basis of how they fare on TV or even at rallies. How many such did Lal Bahadur Shastri be a part of? As someone who has interviewed very many people, including quite a few politicians, I think the interview failed because it did not ask the right questions.

    Kangaroo courts don’t work. All of us would like to know what a political leader thinks, but not in random games of what he thinks about whom.

    The views I expressed were only on one interview, and that should reveal how we ought not to expect one-dimensional ideas at a go.

    Firstpost reproduced my piece, and it is evident how acrimony rules that they had to close the comments within a couple of hours. Do we want such people deciding on who fares how in Hindustan?

  34. Rajat Srivastava30/01/2014, 21:26

    Hi Farzana,
    I am not a regular blogger. But an alternate view that you have presented to RG interview made me share my point of view.
    I agree to your view point and to stand against the tide and present an alternate idea is admirable on your behalf. Keep it up!

    The only residual thought I am left with after reading this view point is, does this interview really reveals & justifies Rahul Gandhi's Prime Ministerial Candidacy? Even in his own words, it seems like he wants to do a lot of things, and experiment by bringing youth into politics. To take responsibility of the nation takes a little more than aspirations and goals. There has to be substantial level of drive, a leader of national stature, ACCOMPLISHMENTS and SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL REFORMS, by which a person can prove their eligibility.
    Rahul Gandhi may not be the WORST BET, but has he proved himself to be the BEST BET for being Prime Minister of India?

    His comments were expected to satisfy that bench mark. Not just justify where he stands right now, aged 45 years, which by no means counts in youth, unless you were thinking Bollywood, but yes where he stands - I agree he did present that sincerely.

    Thank you!
    Rajat Srivastava

  35. FV,

    The deluge of the comments above has perhaps reinforced your belief that RG "touched a raw nerve" with his interview. If I may point out, the real picture is quiet different.

    It is heartening to see your post attracting such wide readership and discussion on various fora. But as a regular reader of your blog, I must say that your views here have been highly puzzling.

    I have often disagreed with you in my comments. But you always communicated clearly. I could understand exactly what you were trying to convey. That, doesn't seem to be the case here. Your arguments place a severe strain on credulity. It is immediately clear to anyone watching the show that RG is a bad communicator and a holder of shallow and superficial opinions. He lacks knowledge of issues. He is clueless about details. And he loses his bearing under studio floodlights. While none of these are particularly alarming issues by themselves, in an age of cruel mass media and ahead of an election that promises to be a cliffhanger, he seems singularly unfit to lead his army into a make-or-break war.

    Why you were driven to find deeper meaning and analyze RG's inner mind after watching this howler of an interaction is, plainly speaking, beyond me.

  36. Hi,I couldn't resist but comment on this article. The interview cleared all including the misconceptions of congress supporters about RG. Lets not find deviate from the whole big issue of is Mr. RG fit to lead a country like India which has been suffering since 10 years. The Answer is NO. RG's interview showed his ignorance, lack of presence of mind and incapable of dealing with his ignorance. We are definitely not looking an such a person as PM or even PM candidate.

  37. I sincerely feel this artical is a measurable attempt to protect RG from being portrayed as a dumb politician.....He had no answer ready for a single question thrown at him...The interview of RG has posed serious questions about Rahul's wisdom and understanding about very basics...... God save the nation if he becomes PM of the nation....


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