Pappu for Netizens, Shehzada for BJP, a golden hen for coalitions and probably the only hope for Congress – Rahul Gandhi has been a figure of amalgamation in Indian politics. Most of his active years have seen him in the core of the country’s power struggles and mustered him a grey image in the eyes of Indian electorate. This Gandhi scion has been left swaying between the black and the white.
Rahul Gandhi made it to the headlines in 2004 when he won the general elections in his father’s constituency – Amethi. The haul was repeated in 2009 and 2014 and Congress couldn’t help seeing their heir in Rahul Gandhi. He was veterans’ clear choice for the post of Vice-President and his coronation soon followed. Since then, the Gandhi descendant has never looked back. His emerging aura resembled the legacy of his father and grandmother.
Public was divided but impressed. Congress started doing well around untouched constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, and leaders welcomed this young Nehru-Gandhi descendant with open arms. Soon after, people began comparing his dexterity with his sister Priyanka Gandhi’s. Priyanka, on the other hand, never really gave in to this invisible pressure to appear as a Congress forerunner. It was commendable how Rahul never bothered about these juxtapositions and continued his legislative philosophy. Together, Rahul and Priyanka led their mother Sonia Gandhi’s campaign for Rae Bareilly in 2006.
In one of his initial interviews, Gandhi stated that he is completely against divisive politics and wants to act as a ‘uniter’. His position strengthened and senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily devised the ‘Rahul-as-PM’ idea. Rahul looked confident than ever and with each passing milestone, it seemed like he skipped the level where a leader gets grilled at the hands of his own immaturity before he breaks through. A netawho unfolded as a surge of vigor, started expressing views that not only lacked vision but also gave the opposition uncountable chances to hit back.
Congress had to face embarrassments and actually come up with campaigns for damage control. Under Gandhi, the IYC and NSUI saw a dramatic increase in members from 200,000 to 2.5 million. He also conducted youth congress elections for the very first time in Punjab. It was Rahul Gandhi, who appointed Sam Pitroda, the man behind telecommunication revolution in Prime Minister’s office as a Cabinet Minister. Rahul also participated in several youth agitations, farmer rallies and even went to jail on one such occasion.
It was unfortunate how his procurement became more and more negligible with Congress losing its sheen with each passing election. Many said it was Congress’ regressive approach that tarnished Rahul’s image. While others said that Rahul was a political debacle – too immature for the job. BJP labelled him a result of ‘Parivar-waad’ or familism, which though he is. Coming from a clan, which has ruled the country for over 40 years; it was believable that he might have found it easy to climb his way up to the power.
Rahul has become a comic portrayal both in Parliament sessions and in the media. Nicknames, social media trolling and downright slamming have become a common aftermath of his political speeches. Youth, which once likened him to Nehru and Indira, can no longer stand his rallies. Opposition claims that it is actually good for them that they are against Rahul Gandhi. He makes the competition easier for them.
Many of us still don’t know that Rahul has a Bachelor’s degree from USA’ Rollins College and has spent subsequent span of his formative years at Harvard University in Massachusetts and St. Stephen’s College in Delhi. An M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge, Rahul was once a director of a Mumbai-based technology outsourcing firm.
His political background has indeed affected his life but not in a positive way. As they say, nothing worth having ever comes easy – same goes for Gandhi. Rahul’s safety and education suffered during the years following his grandmother’s assassination back in 1984 then again in 1991, after Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the LTTE during an election rally.
We can understand that Rahul didn’t get the opportunity to develop his political aspirations under normal circumstances. He might have been driven by the diplomatic furor around him which ultimately resulted in an undying pressure to take up the responsibilities as soon as possible. The fact that he was a ‘rescuer’ of Congress couldn’t have left him an option to back out.
We cannot nullify the fact that Rahul Gandhi is a patriarch who’s neither allowing veterans to show the way… nor making a place for other political entrants to make a mark in the party. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi is also a victim of twisted situations and ugly diplomacy. Today, he is the President of the Indian National Congress… the leader who bears all the insult that comes his way with a smile and never deters from his ultimate motives. He is the neta, who could have been a successful IT professional or a university professor or anything he would have preferred… but chose to become the face of his party.