The hallmark of a leader is his own sense of confidence and conviction in whatever says and does, uniformity and continuity in his words and actions and the impact he leaves on his viewers and well wishers. That way his interview with Arnab Goswami of Times Now was a great opportunity to showcase his talent, exhibit his sense of perception and understanding of his party and the nation and argue in
a cogent, coherent and intelligent fashion to the set of questions lobbed at him.
Ø That way, this interview was a great platform and opportunity to clear air on so many things and banish the haze of hopelessness surrounding around him. He should have come fully prepared and established himself and dictate the agenda by putting the Anchor on defensive through his oratory and articulation. At the end however, he appeared to be far from prepared and was grappling over a few difficult questions as he had been lured into defend the indefensible.
Ø When Arnab Goswami declared right in the beginning that he wanted” specific” answers to his questions, Rahul Gandhi should have realized that the Nati
on did not want to know about the Gandhis from him. On the contrary, they wanted to know his candid view on a few subjects that had confronted his party in last few years. In the traditional political narrative of our country, hubris is often read as confidence and Rahul Gandhi missed a chance to dig in his heels at a leader who commands attention.
Ø Mr Gandhi emphasized on the “ system” more than 13 times and he avowed to change it. He wanted to “ open” the existing system. He strongly advocated the” overhaul” of the system. Yet the afact remains that if the system is the political establishment that runs governments in the country, the Congress party while not being responsible for the whole of it, is certainly responsible for the biggest section of it.
Ø Given the fact of earlier initiatives to make the party more inclusive, Rahul gandhi’s anti-system assertions lacked the thrust of a concrete action plan. Not much has been heard about his initiative to have aspiring legislators fill-up a 5 page application form for the purpose of transparent nomination. Yet no one knows who compiles these forms, who screens them and what exactly is the process involved in the elimination of candidates.
Ø During the interview, Rahul Gandhi seemed in a great hurry to distance himself from every scam the Congress has been caught in. His passing the buck on the Prime Minister reveals another pathological problem, that is his refusal to take responsibility or his expertise to shoulder it
Ø Perhaps his mentors have not told him that the attempt to disassociate a political narrative from selected phases of its own development can only produce a discordant and desperate appeal to look into the future regardless of the past and that also runs the risk of being read as a disregard for the past, lack of penitence and evident absence of humility.
Ø The primary weapon in a political party’s arsenal is strong defence—a mix of denial, refusal and counter-allegation. Rahul Gandhi seems to be keen on defending and promoting just those aspects of the party’s activities he has participated in and leave the rest to their own devices. It can be read a selfish, it can be described as ineptitude and it would most certainly, be counted as a big leadership drawback.
Ø Rahul Gandhi clearly lacked continuity and sustenance in his arguments. For example, with regards to AAP, he said” What I felt that we can learn from them is that they reached out to people in a particular way that was good.. There are things that we don’t think we should take away from them”. At the same time, he emphasized that the real power” of the Congress is the depth of the Organization and you can not make
changes by destroying this”.
Ø On the comparison between 1984 Anti-Sikh riots and the Gujarat riots of 2002, he was equally scattered. He blamed Modi for being a part of it and yet he said” It is not me. It is a large number of people who saw actively the government of Gujarat being involved in the riots.”. He also justified Dr Manmohan Singh’s attack saying” What the Prime minister is saying about Gujarat riot is a fact”. On the question of anti- Sikha Riots in 1984, his defence was “ I was not involved in the riots at all. It wasn’t that I was a part of it” At the same time, he admitted that” some Congressmen were probably involved in 1984 anti_sikh riots and they have been punished for it”.
Ø Rahul Gandhi said he believed in the opening of the system. Yet he avoided giving a direct reply to the question on whether political parties should be brought under the purview of the RTI and said the parliament should decide on it if political parties are unanimous on this”.
Ø He was equally evasive on the question of Ashok Chavan and Virbhadra Singh and yet he claimed that he was fighting against Corruption. He advocate
d for a “clean politics and yet he said that Congress party was going to have an electoral alliance with Lalu Yadav who has already been convicted and served jail term.
Ø He also carefully avoided the question when he was asked if he would participate in a national debate with the contenders for the Prime Minister’s post.
Ø While Rahul Gandhi is not exactly the quintessential outsider, a part of his image building exercise leaned heavily on this stance- that of an insider who is almost an outside in the way he is critical of the established traditions of politics and governance. His answers clearly revealed that instead of defending himself and his party on key questions, he tried to avoid talking about them.
Ø While he looked sincere in what he thought to be, her also revealed that neither he has a concrete plan nor a clear agenda on the governance and how he
would like to cleanse the “system”. His deeply worried look was more like a school kid suddenly facing a particularly difficult trigonometry tangle or an algebra sum.
Ø The prolonged confusion and criticism about his role in the congress party partially stems from the fact that his public relations have been patchy at the best. He needs to re-discover and re-invent himself on this count.
Ø Congress party media managers have tried depict him in glazy posters as anti-corruption Ninja,as Superman with his “kaajniti ‘ or a “ I m going to fix the world” smile . Yet the fact remains that he has a go go a long way to catch up Modi on these counts.
Ø A few channels would now follow up the leads provided from the Times Now Interview and start pounding the Congress party with various tit bits and excerpts from this interview and turn and twist that in their own way. That would create more headache for the party in the coming days.
Ø Mr Gandhi’s rem
arks would now unnecessarily open up yet another front of !984 RIOT VICTIMS AGAINST THE Congress and they would start riling up on camera all over again.
Ø His eye contact was miserable, and he was looking all over the place, and very rarely eye-to-eye with Arnab
Ø Body language is a vital thing that displays confidence, and inner resolve and determination. He just missed this – and often I felt he was just trying to impre
ss viewers with jargons and “unfelt emotions” ….
Ø Due to his shifty and edgy body language, his credibility was at stake to those of us who can see through ….
Ø While Arnab maintained a very surprising composure, RG was wavering in his answers and was side tracking ….
Ø There were no “real promises” or resolve for “what I will do for India”
Ø This is the vital difference between Modi & RG / Congress
Ø The 60 years and 60 Months mantra is an important one to tackle
Ø Rahul Gandhi’s Mentors , Tutors and media Managers should understand that he needs many lessons in handling TV interviews – he is far away from maturity to project himself as the leader of Future India
Ø The new print campaign with him in the fo
refront seems very hurried and gives the clarity of the “vacuum” and hole” in the Congress party. This sudden outburst of campaign with only RG looks foolish, as Indians have been told that he is NOT the PM candidate … then what’s this ??
Ø There needs to be a consistent and well thought of approach to communications – a good professional strategy HAS to be drawn out. Not a knee jerk reaction to whatever Modi comes up with
Ø Indians have now been confused enoug
h with Congress and who is the leader in the elections – is there a need to show off the fool hardiness within the Party ??? And, commit more suicidal tendencies ?????
Ø Rahul Gandhi needs to interact with a few senior leaders within the Party to work with professionals who are committed to the effort of charting out a win for the Congress party, and those who are sincere about their dedication for the Party and not take this up as a money making venture – rather than a group of sycophants in the garb of “self confessed communications professionals” …