Arnab Goswami’s interview with Rahul Gandhi last night revealed the Congress Party Vice President as a callow and confused person. To every question posed he had the same stock nonsequiterish response — RTI, recruiting the aam janata into politics, etc. While he was cut short on occasion, he persisted. The main problem being his pitch that the Congress Party was in terms of power less centralized than BJP and had less power concentrated at the top — a near-nonsensical thesis the interviewer failed to challenge! Considering Narendra Modi is a proven Chief Minister who has on the basis of his performance come up from the ranks and established himself at the top in the BJP, either Rahul was being remarkably cheeky, or he genuinely believes what he says in contravention of the facts — which is even more worrying — that the Gandhi Family supremo of the moment since Indira’s time — Rajiv and Sonia, has always been the final authority, the main veto-er of government initiatives, and adjudicator of intra-party power tussles. In the face of this reality, Rahul perhaps meant that power in the Congress is presently divided between him and his mother, with Priyanka, the third member of this ruling triumvirate pulling the strings so far from the sidelines. As long as there’s a Gandhi Family member at the helm there’s no chance for anybody else to ascend to the apex level, with even the PM-ship being held by political non-entities such as Manmohan Singh at that Gandhi’s sufferance. So, there are limits to democracy that Rahul extolled within his party, which Goswami did not push him on. Apparently, he believes that more democracy within the party means more average people joining in to prop up the same old Family-led order.
Equally appalling was his claim that while the Gujarat state mechanism aided and abetted the 2002 Hindu rioters, the Delhi and Central govts had no hand in facilitating the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. While conceding that high-ranking Congress Party leaders may have been involved, he differentiated them from the govt apparatus! And as regards the massive corruption and the involvement of Congressmen in rank thievery and worse, he only offered that old saw about the law taking its own course!
Rahul Gandhi was coached and primed to offer stock replies no matter what the question. He did so robotically. The only time he seemed unsettled was when he was asked about his academic degrees from Cambridge University and Harvard as per Subrahmanyham Swamy’s charge that he had degrees from neither place. He did not refute Swamy’s contention, merely countering that his name would be found on the muster of the said college at Cambridge U — not that he actually secured a degree from any such institution. In this he is much like his grandmother, Indira, who spent time at Sommerville College, Cambridge, and his father Rajiv who whiled away a term or two at Trinity without anything to show for it (except his courting of a certain Italian girl enrolled in some sideline school in town to learn English).