Rahul Gandhi’s party life: Why Indians can’t relate to it


oi-Smita Mishra


Published: Thursday, May 5, 2022, 9:19 [IST]

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The Congress spin doctors flatter themselves by calling it a grudge and making a virtue of their leader’s escapades

The Congress has done it again. In trying to make a virtue of the video in which the party’s de facto leader Rahul Gandhi is seen at a nightclub in Kathmandu, it has ensured that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Barely a week ago, the media was abuzz with front page stories of hectic parleys in the Congress headquarters indicating that the party may have finally decided to step up and face the challenge of its dwindling fortunes. Of course, the brainstorming sessions did not result in consultant-strategist Prashant Kishor associating with the party but the formation of an Empowered Action Group and talks of a Chintan Shivir did appear to be sincere.

Rahul Gandhi's party life: Why Indians can't relate to it

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi was reported to be abroad on a ‘private visit’ even during those sessions. And then came the story that he would be in Nepal to attend the wedding of a journalist friend. On Tuesday twitter was lit with a video clip of a nightclub where Gandhi is seen with a woman as loud music plays on. Expectedly, the video clip blew up into a full-on political controversy. BJP leaders made jibes at Gandhi’s sojourn abroad even as his party was ‘exploding’. They also hinted that the woman looked like the Chinese envoy in Nepal though that claim has been challenged by media platforms. But it is not the purpose of this column to analyze the BJP or any political party’s stance for that matter. It is the Congress party’s response to common people on social media that merits a discussion.

Needless to say, Congress spokespersons and their entire ecosystem jumped to defend the video.

Across various platforms, their arguments mostly hovered around Rahul Gandhi having the right to his personal life/ visits, people questioning the video being low-lives who had never been invited to a party and how attending weddings/ social events was a part of our culture . More than one spokesperson unabashedly admired Rahul Gandhi’s swag and style and how young and fit he always looked.

Well, first of all criticizing the wedding. The video was clearly not related. And then almost every Congress spokesperson/ panelist/ supporter booed those questioning the video by calling it a grudge of those who did not have a similar life.

Well, here’s the thing. Nobody, much less educated, confident, aware and hard working Indians, hold a grudge against anyone having the ‘good life’. They may aspire for the same and perhaps even work towards it but grudge is not the same as aspire. It is just that when the video appears hours after the same leader’s tweet slamming India’s multiple ‘crises’, one does not know what to think. Even that would have been overlooked but for the Congress war room’s over-enthusiasm in making a virtue of the whole episode. What was not said by the spokespersons was done by their celebrity supporters who, so far, have done more harm than good to the party.

While the Congress ecosystem may jeer at the critics, they fail to see that it is not about grudge. It is rather the common India’s complete inability to relate to RG’s life which is the real issue. Which average Indian voter can relate to the scion of a family, born with a silver spoon, who can party through life? Most Indians have to work hard every day to build their future, run their households and shoulder all kinds of responsibilities, professional, personal and social.

Aspirational India is all about moving ahead in life for one’s own progress as well as contributing to the progress of the society and nation. That is why we keep reading every day about an auto driver’s son qualifying for IIT, a vegetable seller’s daughter making it to international sports tournaments and Indians surprising the world with their start-ups, their electronic genius and their achievements in various fields.

The last thing this aspirational Indian wants is a jibe thrown at her for not living the ‘party’ life. One reason Narendra Modied the political equilibrium was his ability to see through this aspirational Indian’s mind before others. But I wouldn’t limit this to Modi alone. There are other stalwarts outside the BJP fold who have also risen through sheer hard work and passion.

When Congress spin doctors attempt to justify Rahul Gandhi’s partying ad nauseum, they fail to see the disconnect with the common Indian. The only people who can perhaps relatem to it are those who share the same life which is less than miniscule. And while swooning over his swag and style, spokespersons forget that looking cool and young at 50 is not how most Indians look at life. Any wonder the party cannot garner enough votes?

(Smita Mishra, Advisor, Prasar Bharati)

The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Story first published: Thursday, May 5, 2022, 9:19 [IST]

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