The Congress party has often been involved in influencing the media to ensure that the image of the ‘Grand old party’ and the family members that are involved in running it. From Jawaharlal Nehru to the current crop of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, under the watchful eye of mother Sonia Gandhi and her cohorts, the Congress party has often had a complicated relationship with the truth and by extension, any media house or journalist that dares to write about the truth. One the prime examples of this complicated relationship is when a 2005 interview of Rahul Gandhi was killed by Tarun Tejpal of Tehalka because it embarrassed the Congress party.
In an interview to Zee TV, Vijay Simha had detailed how his interview of Rahul Gandhi in 2005, for the Tehalka magazine was killed after Tarun Tejpal was possibly pressured by the Congress party and its senior politicians.
In the interview, Simha says that in the beginning, the newsroom of Tehalka was the place to be since Tarun Tejpal’s voice had a strength to it. However, after 2006, things started to go downhill and he started doubting the intentions of Tejpal after his story was killed. He said in 2005, he had met Rahul Gandhi and since he was a new politician, he had said a lot about himself, Congress, his personality and politics. When Rahul spoke in the interview, many politicians in the Congress party felt that their “job was in danger”.
Thereafter, the senior politicians started pressurising saying that “why did you talk to such a person?”. Further, shockingly, he says that the politicians told him that he used to be a “nashedi” and used to do “nasha’. Essentially saying that Rahul Gandhi and his views should be trusted since he was a drug addict.
Due to this, he says that Tarun Tejpal came under a lot of pressure. In the beginning, he was standing with his team saying that the interview is accurate and that his team has done no wrong. After that, he got some calls (and he didn’t reveal who was calling him) that he suddenly took a u-turn and the interview was pulled down.
Simha says that this context of how the interview was pulled down is important since later he was accused of fabricating the interview. Simha revealed that many people started claiming that he had done a false sting operation and fabricated the interview and hence, it was taken down. However, that was not the case.
He further makes a far more shocking revelation. Vijay Simha says that this was not the only story that was killed at Tehalka. He was in the know of several other stories being killed, however, he did not really have the power, despite being one of the senior editors, to say something or do anything about it.
Simha, branded this form of journalism as a blatant form of murder. “Ye to katal hai”, he said.
What was the 2005 interview of Rahul Gandhi that was killed by Tarun Tejpal after being pressurised by Congress
The 2005 interview of Rahul Gandhi was not much different from any of his current interviews where he sounds rather confused. Rahul Gandhi, as is his charming personality, contradicts himself in a matter of sentences and not much was different back then. However, in his state of perpetual confusion, Rahul Gandhi did reveal a lot about the inner workings of Congress and most importantly, how not only his party but even he was severely challenged when it came to effective governance and commitment to the people of India.
In the interview, Rahul Gandhi made several revelations that could have hurt the Congress party and his own image as a coherent politician, an image Congress was desperately trying to create for Rahul.
‘I can’t do much as an MP’ to ‘Nobody does more than me’: Rahul Gandhi’s cognitive dissonance
In the beginning of the interview, which is still available online here, Rahul Gandhi is first asked about the abysmal condition of the roads in Amethi. To that, Rahul Gandhi says that he is only a Member of Parliament, and other than spending his MPLAD funds, an MP cannot really do much.
He says, “If you want to know what’s going on here, you need to understand that there are lots of issues. I am a Member of Parliament, and an MP can’t do much. I get ₹2 crore (under the MP Local Area Development Scheme). That allows me to lay 8 kilometres of road. That’s it. But we have been able to get 500 kilometres of road laid in Amethi. To me that’s an achievement. What can I do beyond that? Nothing. You’ve seen the place. Nothing works here except the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. However, I can’t blame the state government and say everything is their fault. My men do that but I can’t”.
In this segment, Rahul Gandhi seems to suggest that all MPs are more or less helpless other than utilising their MPLAD funds for the development of their constituency and that anything he has been able to do beyond that is because he had good connections. However, that is not how the system works and MPs have the power to make proposals to the government for the development of their constituency which is then put into motion. The development of a constituency can even happen by talking to Industry leaders and other corporates to ensure that industry is opened in the area, thereby leading the its development.
However, here, Rahul Gandhi seems to be oblivious to how governance can actually be done.
Further, Rahul displays his utter cognitive dissonance when after saying that he can’t do much as an MP to develop the state, just a few questions down the line, he says that no other MP in the country has done as much as him.
He says, “My idea of politics is not to do things in a week. If somebody wants to come to me and says that I have failed, well fine… I am not failing. I am succeeding. If there’s anything being done anywhere in Uttar Pradesh, it is in Amethi. In fact, no other MP in the country is doing as much as I am”.
Rahul Gandhi cannot seem to decide in this interview if he is a helpless MP who cannot do much due to the system, or is an MP is doing more than anyone else in the country. Either way, none of those assertions seem to make sense since one is factually incorrect and the other is betrayed by the fact that 15 years later, Amethi had hardly seen any development whatsoever and Rahul Gandhi lost that seat in 2019 as a result of it.
Confused statements on RJD, SP, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh – the now allies of Congress
During the interview, Rahul Gandhi gave us a glimpse into not just his beautiful mind but also how the Congress party functions as an ally of anybody who can catapult them and their family members to power.
Here is a chronology of his comments on the same, one, which would make his confusion apparent.
- First he says that he does not blame the UP government for no developmental work being done in the state. In the beginning of the interview, when asked about Amethi, he says, “Nothing works here except the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. However, I can’t blame the state government and say everything is their fault. My men do that but I can’t”.
- Immediately in the next answer, Rahul says that there is a total collapse of the administration system in UP and Bihar. However, just before that, he had said that he does not blame the state government for it. One has to ask Rahul then – who should have been blamed?
- After trying to say that there is no governance in UP and Bihar and also trying to shield RJD and SP at the same time, Rahul Gandhi says that he does not support the Mulayam Singh Yadav government. When asked about the support, he says, “That cannot go on. I don’t support that (the UP government) at all. I am not going to bat out this one. I’ll do something about it”.
- In the very next question, he says that the decision to support Mulayam Singh Yadav comes from other senior Congress leaders and that one day, they may simply wake and up and stop supporting the government. This is a “complex” issue and hence, he refused to comment further on it.
It is pertinent to note that Congress is now in alliance with SP and RJD and Rahul Gandhi is rather supportive of the “youth leaders” of both parties – Akhilesh Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav. Essentially, after saying that he does not support them in 2005 to now allying with them in 2019-2020, Rahul Gandhi has come a long way.
In 2005, Rahul Gandhi had promised to bring change in a month
In his 2005 interview, Rahul Gandhi had promised that the interviewer will see a change in the constituency in a month’s time.
He tells the interviewer, “Look at Amethi. Do you know that we have been able to educate 40,000 people? If you come to Amethi after a month, you will find every Congress worker teaching children in his or her house. Each one will teach one or two children. That is the way I work. That is meaningful work. You will be foolish; I will be foolish to say that I am going to do things in a week. I am not going to do things in a week. That is not the way I am. That is not the idea”.
However, the shocking and abysmal state of Amethi was rather evidence after 15 years of Congress ruling the constituency. As a result of that, Rahul Gandhi was booted by the people, the very people of the very constituency that Congress considered a fiefdom for long.
An analysis of 10 years of Rahul Gandhi vs 4 years of Smriti Irani can be read here.
Information Technology a mere hype, said Rahul Gandhi in 2005: Captain ‘missing the obvious’
In his 2005 interview, Rahul Gandhi had said, “There is excessive hype about IT in India. It affects only a few people, and I can’t see why so much is made of it. There is no doubt that IT is a growing area, but I am looking at empowering the multitude. I think education is the way to go. We simply can’t progress until we give people in places like this [Amethi] a chance. I agree that good work is being done in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but that is not the case elsewhere”.
This is a rather shocking statement to be made in the year 2005, which can actually be considered one of the most landmark years for information technology in general.
It was in 2005 that YouTube was founded, Apply had announced its plans to switch to Intel processors, Reddit was launched, the first YouTube video was uploaded, Google hired DARPA veteran Vint Cerf to carry on his quest for a global open Internet, Google Maps was launched, Microsoft Windows XP Professional was released, Google introduced personalised homepage, Opera Mini browser was launched, Google Analytics was launched, UTorrent was launched. It was way before in 2003 that Airtel had launched its broadband services and by 2005, .in websites were also launched.
With so much happening, for Rahul Gandhi to say that Information Technology boom was only a fad only goes to show how short sighted the politician really is.
In fact, Rahul Gandhi’s shortsightedness is evident by one simple fact: narendramodi.in domain was registered in the year 2005.
My first lesson in arrogance in my professional life came from a bathroom in the UK
As usual, Rahul Gandhi is the master of spouting gibberish and when asked simple questions.
Here is what Rahul Gandhi said in his interview – A little anecdote from UK:
Let me tell you about arrogance. My first lesson in arrogance in my professional life came from a bathroom in the UK. I was doing consultancy for a firm in England. They were into distribution, you know, getting things around. I had one look and I thought these guys know nothing. I can fix things in a day or two. I did what I was asked to. My boss was pleased. He gave me another responsibility. Something else in the same organisation that needed fixing. It was a mess. I had already done my first job well. So I was confident. I had the answer. I thought, man, bar codes are the solution. We can fix things by having different bar codes for different products. The boss looked at me quietly. He told me I was good at my job, and asked me to have a look at the office bathroom. The bathroom was full of graffiti. This guy is like that, that guy is like this etc. Suddenly it hit me. All the bar codes in the world wouldn’t have helped. The problem was something else. That, my friend, is arrogance. It is one bathroom lesson I haven’t forgotten. That is the arrogance you have to deal with. When I take life this way, I stop thinking that the other guy is a joker. I realise I am the joker.
This is it. That is his entire anecdote. It does not make sense. Did he mean that he got arrogant after his first solution worked and his colleagues left mean comments in the bathroom stall for him? Or did he mistake bar code for bathroom code? If he thought bar code was his brainwave, he needs to understand that bar codes were in use since decades before he ‘came up with the solution’. Perhaps next time he could visit the bathroom at AICC headquarters where his mother Sonia Gandhi had locked up Sitaram Kesri to stop him from becoming party president to get some more wisdom and enlighten/entertain us.
The only thing that perhaps made sense in that nonsensical anecdote was the last sentence – “I realise I am the joker”. Well, yes indeed.
Does he ‘want to learn’ or ‘his personality is made, he is what he is’?
During the course of the interview, Rahul Gandhi gave an eloquent answer about how he is willing to learn till the day he dies. He said, “I believe that you know more than me in the job that you do. The guy who fixes the air-conditioner at my place knows more than me about air-conditioning. The person who sweeps outside my house knows more about sweeping than I do. My job in politics is to transmit the knowledge that people have from one person to another. This outlook is central to my life. I hope that I will have the ability to learn till the day I die”.
However, he contradicts himself soon enough.
Further in the interview, he says, “My personality is made. I am done. There is nothing more to be made of me. I am what I am. My strength comes from me, not from what happens outside of me. I am not going to change inside. I am prepared for things going the other way. I understand I can’t always have things my way”.
One has to ask Rahul Gandhi how do these two statements go together? Does he want to learn? Or is just done ‘done’? We will perhaps never know but judging by his politics, it is probably the later.
‘Every time I want to do something, there is this fear that it may go wrong’
Finally, Rahul answers the most important question – Why did Congress want this interview deleted. His Midas touch, of course.
‘I don’t like to ask questions in the parliament’
When asked why Rahul Gandhi does not ask questions in the parliament, he says:
“I don’t ask questions in Parliament because I like to think things through. Just look around at the questions that are asked in Parliament, and you’ll know why I don’t ask questions. I mean look at them. Is that the kind of stuff you want me to ask?”
15 year since, we know exactly the kind of theatrics that Rahul Gandhi prefers to do in the parliament instead of asking questions that would benefit the people of the nation and/or his own constituency.
On the basis of this one interview, perhaps an entire thesis can be written, with elaborate examples, on what is exactly wrong with Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party. However, the most important aspect is why this article was forced to be taken down:
In this interview, Rahul Gandhi sounds confused, disconnected and just inept at being a politicians. Further, he also reveals that the Congress party and its scions are least interested in the welfare of its people and are terribly unaware of what the future holds. Nobody is surprised that Congress, that has always managed the media in order to manage the image of Rahul Gandhi, got this interview pulled down.