Rahul Gandhi, the young Congress vice-president not only shushed some of his detractors by giving his first television interview in 10 years of his active political career, batting some straight questions from Times Now’s Arnab Goswami (pouting answers that contained little substance whatsoever), but also marked a beginning of a media blitz that has brought him under the arclights like never before.
And now, the Congress party is left with the tough job of vindicating their future PM’s guile, unintelligibility, and plain lack of confidence (read the repetitive, pre-meditated, unconvincing, evasive answers that Rahul gave even when questions were specific). The hour-plus interview saw the anchor hurl a volley of crucial questions at Rahul that not only made him fib and fidget with discomfiture, but also revealed how this well-intentioned politician is torn between sharp divergence of his troubled inheritance, dynastic expectations and underlying beliefs.
The big interview has now become the butt of all national jokes and is likely to botch up Rahul Gandhi’s chances or make people queue up in large numbers at the polling stations to vote for the Congress in the upcoming elections.
At a time when Mr Gandhi is finding himself sandwiched between two political behemoths — Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal — who have the grabbed the initiative and left the Congress looking leaden-footed and resigned to woeful election returns, his chances of catapulting the party by the bootstraps and making it believe it can win, or at least get to a position where it can exert some influence in the 16th Lok Sabha seems bleak.
Now only another cogent and powerful interview by Rahul Gandhi can possibly salvage some of the damages, we believe.
One takeaway for the BJP: Whatever the verdict on Rahul Gandhi, at least, he agreed to be grilled in full public view. Now it’s left to be seen if Narendra Modi — a consummate performer when addressing mass rallies — will allow media interviewers to put him on the hot seat? If so, where his frank talk with Arnab Goswami would lead him? The nation speculates.
AW: Suchorita Choudhury