In what may seem like a small turn in perspective, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi delivered a speech the University of California, Berkeley on ‘India at 70’. Besides taking customary jibes at the opposing party, he did self-introspect, on himself and his party at large.“
“Mr Modi has certain skills, he is a very good communicator, he’s much better than me,” Rahul Gandhi said. Soon after these words of acknowledgment, came the dig, “He knows how to give a message to 3-4 different groups in a crowd, so his messaging ability is very effective and subtle”. He also acknowledged his party’s arrogance, “Around 2012, arrogance crept into Congress party and we stopped having conversations with people”.
Rahul Gandhi has been ridiculed in the recent past for his poor oratory skills, his acknowledgment of the same was much appreciated. But along with this acknowledgment, pearls of wisdom from the leader’s mouth almost seems to be ‘artificially’ generated.“Idea of non-violence is under attack today, yet it is the only idea which can take humanity forward. Hatred, anger, and violence can destroy us, the politics of polarisation is dangerous” Rahul said this while referring to the recent killings in the country, “Liberal journalists are being shot, people are being lynched. These incidents are making millions feel that they have no future in their country”. He also struck a chord with the much-debated topic of 'nepotism' in India, claiming that dynastic politics is at play in most political parties, businesses and the film industry. “Most of the country runs like this,” he added.
Rahul Gandhi also took a dig at the BJP, stating that the party had done much harm to the country with the demonetisation move and the hastily implemented GST. And that terrorism in Kashmir has been on the rise ever since the BJP-PDP alliance in the valley. He also took a jibe at those BJP leaders who ridiculed Indira Gandhi and Sam Pitroda, when they spoke about the idea of computers in India. “Why do we need computers, we were asked. In fact, a BJP leader who went on to become Prime Minister later said, Why does a country like India need computers?”, Rahul said.
Late but timely, Rahul’s speech this time did have its impact and has managed to send shivers down BJP’s spine. A rattled party now attempts to take debunk the leader’s words with the help of press conferences. Toughened up Rahul Gandhi also made the announcement of being ready to be Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2019 elections. Can we expect consistency in the new Rahul avatar or is this an ‘artificially generated’ persona that comes with an expiry date?