With 2019 general elections less than a year away, the grand old party is all set to prop their party president, Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate. Even as the allies are not particularly happy, one is given to believe that the Congress party, as has been the norm, won’t be able to look beyond the dynastic protege as their leader.
Rahul Gandhi is not a very astute politician. He fumbles often and loses the plot while speaking to an audience almost always. While the Congress has tried its best to convince people, time and again, that Rahul has come of age and has grown into his family thrust role of an astute politician, his natural charm betrays the campaign.
As an example of Rahul’s beautiful mind betraying Congress’ campaign, one looks at a video from yesterday, when at his rally in Madhya Pradesh, the first after his Mansarovar Yatra, the Congress president was caught unawares by an audience member who asked him to share his Yatra experience.
See and hear for yourself! pic.twitter.com/ABXSRf3e03
— M.J. Akbar (@mjakbar) September 18, 2018
Like a true Delhi boy, Rahul Gandhi perhaps mixed up Kailash Mansarovar with Greater Kailash, the posh South Delhi neighbourhood and took time to realise the question was about the pilgrimage.
After the lady master of ceremony asks him the question about his pilgrimage experience, Rahul Gandhi, with a vacant, confused look on his face nods his head and says “haan” (yes). After that, for a few seconds, Rahul drew a complete blank. Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, standing on either side of Rahul Gandhi keep staring at him. There comes a point where one thinks that perhaps it is the video that has frozen until the angle changes and one sees Rahul Gandhi, keeping mum, from a side angle.
Finally, Rahul manages to mumble the word “Kailash” and then keeps mum for a few more seconds. He then mumbles “Kailash… jo Parvat hai… jo Mansarovar hai….”.
One is forced to wonder what causes this bizarre behaviour from someone who aspires to lead a country like India. The first thought, considering the controversy surrounding his Mansarovar Yatra, is wondering whether the questions surrounding his pilgrimage had any merit to them. After all, how can one draw a blank when asked about a journey he supposedly took just a few days ago.
The other possibility is that perhaps Rahul’s interactions are not as impromptu as Congress would have us believe. One wonders if it possible that Rahul is given a script to follow and these long, vacant, confused pauses surface when the interaction, briefly, steers off plan.
The ‘out of syllabus’ theory gathers steam since this is not the first time that Rahul Gandhi has faltered when a surprise question is thrown at him. Recently, during his UK visit, when he was asked to explain his political ideology, Rahul Gandhi drew a similar, creepy, eerie blank. One is reminded of Tom from the popular Tom and Jerry show. Tom usually looks as confused when he hurts his head while chasing Jerry.
This is the video of 17 seconds pause before giving above answer.
— Neetu Garg (@NeetuGarg6) August 26, 2018
One theory that has often been floated is that during an interaction, Rahul somehow has someone feeding him the answers, and these surprise questions take time to process. In the meantime, Rahul ends up looking rather silly.
None of these theories can be proven. But when the Reluctant Prince of Indian politics draws a blank every time an out-of-syllabus question is asked, one wonders how credible, then, are his accusations if he can’t even substantiate them?
For example, during his UK visit, Rahul Gandhi had mentioned how PM Modi had ‘failed’ in handling the 2017 Doklam crisis. However, when an audience member asked him about how he would have handled the crisis, Rahul Gandhi said how he does not have the details on the Doklam issue and hence he could not answer how he would have handled the same.
Any political observer must ask if it is possible that Rahul Gandhi is so far from reality that he has no clue what his speech writer is writing? That if someone asks him a question which strays from the written script, Rahul Gandhi fumbles. Or if answers are not provided to him on a mobile phone, he does not know what to say.
This little-red-riding-hood syndrome where he is lost in the woods looking for grandma’s house is not an endearing quality in a politician who is being thrust upon a billion people as their leader. After all, who can forget his eerie smile when Congress lost 2014 general elections or even when he went to visit an ailing Karunanidhi. Either way, perhaps once the MRI machines get connected, maybe Congress President’s brain scan can be carried out to give us a glimpse into which part of his brain lights up when he fumbles and tumbles and blows his audience away.