6 questions Rahul Gandhi still hasn’t answered

If you listen closely to the breeze blowing through the capital’s vineyards, the year of the lord two-thousand twelve is the year when a not-so-young man will become the “fifth generation custodian of one of the world’s longest serving political dynasties of the world“.

But Rahul Gandhi‘s personal life has not been the bed of roses that pathological Congress-haters with Subramanian Swamy on their Twitter timeline think it is: he was 10, when his uncle crashed to death; 13 when his grandmother lay soaked in blood in the family garden; 20 when the call came from Sriperumbudur.

His political life, though, is not as touching.

Seven years since he set foot in the cesspool, few know where he stands on any issue. He speaks for FDI in retail after the bill has been torpedoed. He speaks for Nandan Nilekani‘s Aadhar project after the parliament standing committee has torn into it. He looks ashen-faced when his suggestion to make Lok Pal a constitutional authority is noisily defeated.

If the Congress wins anything, bouquets are laid at his door; if it loses, partymen magnanimously bat the bricks. If he speaks in the Lok Sabha, he is cheered; if he remains silent, his critics are jeered. For a digital generation politician, he seems to loves playing a stuck LP on his strange two-nation theory of India.

Yes, has heroically (and admirably) made the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections a test of his prowess, unlike his presumed rival from the BJP—Narendra Damodardas Modi, to give him his full name—who cannot even step out of his Vibrant State, but what after that?

On India Real Time, the Wall Street Journal‘s superb India website, Ajit Mohan asks the one question reporters on the Congress beat are loathe to asking:

“The question that has never been sincerely posed is what will he have to do to earn the right to lead the nation or even the party? Even the scions of established political dynasties have had to earn their stripes in recent history.

“While it was always a guaranteed outcome that Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew’s first-born son would become the prime minister some day, Lee Hsein Loong was battle-tested in critical ministerial portfolios and successfully led the country’s monetary authority during the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s before he got anywhere near the leadership chair.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the Democratic party’s favorite president, John F. Kennedy, and descendant in a long line of family members who served in senior leadership positions in the government, failed to get the nod from her party for a US Senate nomination despite her legacy and support from a sitting president. North Korea may well be an exception to the rule, where the only criterion for the new supreme leader seems to have been that he happened to be the son who was not a full-blown lunatic.

“For Rahul Gandhi to earn the right to be the leader that he may be destined to be, he must prove his mettle on many fronts.

“Can he articulate a philosophy of political and social change that is compelling enough to chart the policies of the Congress for the next 20 years? Can he create a political strategy that is rooted not in the vote bank politics of the past — slicing and dicing communities and castes — but in appealing to the aspirations and energy of constituencies that have traditionally not even bothered to vote? Does he have the intent and the ability to reform the party’s governance structures? Can he win elections for the party? Can he build and sustain coalitions? Does he have the management ability to lead and govern a party as diverse as the Congress, or a country as complex as India?”

Photograph: courtesy The Associated Press via WSJ

Also readJesus, Mozart, Alexander aur apun ka Rahul Gandhi

What Amethi’s indices tell us about Rahul Gandhi

How different is Rahul Gandhi from MNS and KRV?

Rahul Gandhi‘s ascension: A foregone conclusion?

‘Politics is about solving problems, not evading them’

After Manmohan who? Chidu, Diggy or Rahul?

‘Most opaque politicians in the democratic world’

A functioning anarchy? Or a feudal democracy?

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—Part I

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—Part II

Only question anyone should ask Rahul Gandhi

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 Responses to “6 questions Rahul Gandhi still hasn’t answered”

  1. pdk Says:

    WSJ’s superb India website? Nice one.

    So here’s a thought experiment. Pick any other politician who can answer the six questions. Say Advani, or Jaitley, or Sushma, or Mamta, or whoever. The six questions are:

    Can he articulate a philosophy of political and social change that is compelling enough to chart the policies of the Congress for the next 20 years? Can he create a political strategy that is rooted not in the vote bank politics of the past — slicing and dicing communities and castes — but in appealing to the aspirations and energy of constituencies that have traditionally not even bothered to vote? Does he have the intent and the ability to reform the party’s governance structures? Can he win elections for the party? Can he build and sustain coalitions? Does he have the management ability to lead and govern a party as diverse as the Congress, or a country as complex as India?

    Who gets a pass on these litmus-test questions by the author?

  2. pdk Says:

    One question the writer, Ajit Mohan, needs to answer. Was he hard pressed for time or does he generally not think much before letting the words roll out?

    If this is the case, and if his work with the youth wing can indeed tell us about his ability to steer the party or the nation, then it is the responsibility of Congress to articulate a set of outcomes that will allow us to judge the effectiveness of his choices and leadership.

    The Congress party that, according to him, is just worshiping Rahul Gandhi totally day in and day out, needs to set the outcomes to judge Rahul Gandhi by. Does that make any kind of sense? Like a doting parent being asked to set the criteria for his kid to get into, say, IIT or IIM (assuming the parent considers it important for his kid to get into IIT/IIM of course).

  3. Chakresh Mishra Says:

    I feel for Rahul. He is a very ordinary man, put in-charge of a sycophantic party, not capable of leading a complex nation like India. If he ever get the PMship, he will loose very badly next time..

  4. raj2717 Says:

    Its a simple answer.. Churumuri self-declares that his-baiters can’t answer!

    Let him become a panchayat leader, prove himself, then as MP/MLA, prove himself (which he failed terribly if u look at his numbers), then become chief minister, prove himself, then put a claim for PM post. As simple as that!

  5. Jayalakshmi (@Vetrimagal) Says:

    For Rahul Gandhi a major hurdle is all the biases against his parents, grand father! May be , he can clean up a constituency, become an MLA, CM and then a Minister in the cabinet and then PM. But Prinyanka is better positioned to jump into the fray.

  6. Ramesh Raghuvanshi Says:

    If you want to be successful in Indian politics you must create your brand name. People of India always worship to hero.From ancient this trend is deeply rooted in Indian psyche.Ram, Krishna to Gandhi Nehru Indira people devoted all their faith on them.,Indians want their hero must be selfless,minimum familyty.aggressive in nutshell he must be father figure but ever green youth.Rahul till didn’t created his brand image so he will be successful or not it depend how he create his brand.

  7. Rastrakoota Says:

    Rahula will not able to answer any of the questions. It’s an open secret that he is devoid of any intellectual asset necessary to beat the questions!

  8. harkol Says:

    So, which are the ‘questions’ RG has answered?

    This family is more like Monarchs who are accountable to no one. They have lived off the state for 5 generations now! Sad that NDA govt. turned in to a pale imitation of UPA and refused to bring Bofors culprits to books.

    To mature as a democracy, we need to destroy the ‘party boss’ culture that was so prevalent even in USA in 19th (& early 20th) century. That’s when new challengers will emerge, new ideas will flow and the static and mechanic policy making will change.

    More to my point – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_boss

  9. mbhagawat Says:

    Rahul cant rule India as he has shown his idiocy several times.He is a total novice and working at dictates by his advisors comprising Diggi and PC.If he wud have any brain he shud have went to Anna hmself to show solidarity with his demands and Baba ramdev showing his truthfulness on his demands for bringing blackmoney but instead of doing so he has lambasted both and earned hatred for himself and for his party.If BJP come to power it wud b only due to his idiocy and nonsensical attitude and behaviour.

  10. Aman Panwar Says:

    With all respects my question to Mr. Ajit Mohan is –
    Sir, I don’t know if u have seen parliamentary proceedings lately?

    The kind of support Rahul enjoys is also enjoyed by the leader of opposition in the house. Sushma swaraj or Arun Jaitely have been equally applauded by their party men.

    It is only unfortunate that instead of lighting fact that we have a complete “unhealthy opposition”, we are here trying to bring down men like Rahul Gandhi – who have a noble quest for the country and the youth.

  11. chidu22 Says:

    Well put and long overdue if no platform has asked these questions about Rahul Gandhi.In the age of internet, social networks and increased awareness among the massess the ability to lead a party or country in the new world needs to be tested. Unless you have a vision for the future and the belief to carry it forward,Mr Gandhi will end up like his predeccessors Rajiv,Narsimha Rao and the dumbo MMS. I dont think the backward state ,UP polls’outcome even its positive for congress is a measure of his ability. The factors that govern UP polls have not changed even in this age of internet i.e. caste, corruption, rigging etc.
    If he aspires to be the next PM,Mr Gandhi needs to be decisive,assertive and show some gumption, all with modern society values.

  12. sanjeeva Says:

    Have a brief look at the history – Abilities of many of the would be PMs were doubted and questioned by the people, media and even own partymen. Indira Gandhi was called dumb; Morarji Desai, an old man with quirky views; Rajiv – just a pilot; PVN simply a scholar knowing many languages; Vajpayee too soft etc. Once in the saddle, All of them proved their mettle. Rahul may not be a seasoned politician. He may have his shortcomings. But at least he is not a fool. Better let the posterity judge.

  13. Nastika Says:

    @sanjeeva, the other set, the super stars PMs went dud. The list is,

    Nehru – got attacked by China; rot in the bureaucracy set in
    Manmohan Singh – economist on paper but let lose a series of 15 figures scams.
    Advani – ideal future PM candidate, never became PM.

    ~*~

  14. harkol Says:

    Sanjeeva: Indira Gandhi wasn’t a good PM. She did not understand either democracy, or economics. She single handedly destroyed India’s economic vibrancy for 20 years with pseudo socialism, and India is yet to discover from effects of Emergency. The only folks who thrived during that time were Robber barons like Dhirubhai. The ‘bribe culture’ became rampant in that era.

    Manmohan Singh? He is an excellent bureaucrat, not a good leader. He worked very well under a seasoned politician like PVN, but is failing under amteurs like SG-RG.

    History suggests, that India was made more dynamic under experienced politicians like Nehru, PVN and Vajpayee. It was destroyed by amateur feudals like IG, RG and now by SG-RG combination.

    What we need is the firm leadership of a seasoned politician, who can take the country and all parties along with them, in path of economic & administrative reforms, instead of leadership which thrives in feudal, confrontational politics, and disastrous economic ideas of ‘free giveaways’.

  15. Goldstar Says:

    On two major economic issues, the US Nuke deal issue and the Retail-FDI issue, RG has given significant and critical support to the government. That’s good enough for me. Compare this to the hypocrisy shown by the BJP on both these issues.

  16. twistleton Says:

    “Can he create a political strategy that is rooted not in the vote bank politics of the past — slicing and dicing communities and castes — but in appealing to the aspirations and energy of constituencies that have traditionally not even bothered to vote?”

    What is anyone supposed to do about this??

  17. verybleedingheart Says:

    It has been announced in the newspapers that Rahulji’s “presumed rival from the BJP—Narendra Damodardas Modi” will be after all campaigining in UP during the forthcoming elections.

  18. Saif Says:

    Can any one carry forward the aspirations and basic needs of this diverse nation’s people? I am not sure if Rahul Gandhi can score very high on that. But I certainly believe he will do a far better one than the likes of Modis and Advanis. At least he is not starting his career by subtracting 250 million citizens of India practising certain faiths (read Muslims and Christians), from his vision of an all inclusive nation. Corruption is bad. But even with it lingering around I still have faith that my generations will live to fight it, once I am able to save the nation from the communal monsters around.

  19. vss Says:

    All wrong.
    He will become the PM at his choice and all of us will keep wondering what is wrong with us!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: