Why Rahul Can’t Run Congress-Politics News, Firstpost



Only a middle manager would continue to seek managerial solutions to what is essentially a leadership crisis in Congress.

In the second week of September 2005, Tehelka was still an organization we trusted. The magazine had been launched over a year earlier and I had joined as office manager shortly thereafter. We had made stories about merit, and nothing was forbidden. So when news desk reporter Vijay Simha came back from Amethi saying that Rahul Gandhi had given us an interview, the first one, we thought it was a good break for us.

During the editing process, there was a discussion of a particular statement from Rahul where he claimed he could have been PM at 18. It was pointed out that the minimum age to be PM in India is 25. The statement was amended to reflect this, which I thought was wrong. This had the downside of making a rhetorical statement appear to be a carefully thought out statement, but it did nothing to dilute the apparent pride which then led to criticism. As expected, as soon as the article went into print, the reactions started pouring in. With allies weighing in and criticism pouring in, Rahul, in the kind of gesture that has since characterized his policies, has chosen to stand aside and let the congressional spokesperson tackle the problem, “Rahul Gandhi would like to state that he did not give any interviews to Tehelka …. It was born out of an informal conversation. “


As far as we are concerned, that was not the case. Rahul even told Simha at the end of the interview, “Tell Tarun (Tejpal) it’s for him.”

Tehelka released a statement in support of the interview. Later that same day, I was contacted by people who wanted to know why we had retracted our previous statement. The new statement was issued by Tarun bypassing the entire editorial process, agreeing that there had been a “misunderstanding” between Rahul and his reporter.

Despite such obscurations, it remains the first interview published, and it was indicative of who Congress trusted. One of the first things you notice when you come back to it after a decade is how little Rahul has changed. After ten years in politics, he still sounds like he did then. This inability to learn from experience has often been commented on, but it seems to be rooted in the statement he then made at the age of 35: “My personality is made. I’m done. There is nothing more to do with me. I am what I am.”

If that was really the case, then what is it about the last ten years? What was the purpose of the exhibition in India? And again, the answer is there in the ten-year-old interview. “The guy who repairs the air conditioner in my house knows more about air conditioning than I do. The person who sweeps in front of my house knows more about sweeping than I do. My job in politics is to impart the knowledge that people have of a person to person. This perspective is at the heart of my life. ”

Rahul has spent this decade researching structural changes that could make his party more effective. He interacted with experts, some on UP, some on panchayati raj, some on the economy, in the hope that he could turn that expertise into a vision for the country.

It’s an approach that got him nowhere and for good reason. Ramachandra guha summary rather succinctly Rahul’s abilities while dwelling on the possibility of what this country would have been like if Lal Bahadur Shastri had been alive for a few years, “… Sonia Gandhi would” always be a devoted and loving housewife, and Rahul Gandhi maybe a mid-level manager in a private sector company ”. Only a middle manager would continue to seek managerial solutions to what is essentially a leadership crisis in Congress.

Since Rahul Gandhi has spent so much time talking to so many “experts” over the past decade, he should take the time to meet PEN International President John Ralston Saul, a writer and philosopher who has dedicated a considerable thought to contemporary politics. Saul is currently in the country.

The same year Rahul gave his first interview, Saul spoke about good governance at a university in Canada. Dwell on one question: what are the obstacles to good governance? – which is fundamental to the crisis unfolding around us, Saul ended by listing several reasons and then concluded: “… Finally, a terrible confusion between leadership and management. are leaders. It is not the same thing: a leader has a relationship with the population; even a benevolent dictator has a connection with a population. A manager does not have one. A manager is in charge of the structure. The inability to change the rhetoric has to do with this terrible confusion between leadership – not heroism – and management. ” Basically that’s Rahul’s problem, he has no relation to the Indian public.

(Hartosh Singh Bal is a consultant editor at Firstpost.)

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