Published: 07th May 2019
Slow Clap: Why the Congress should have let us see the India Today interview tapes
Has he or has he not grown up and learnt how to answer the questions he is asked or is he still mugging up answers
Irrespective of whether the nation votes for them or not the Grand Old Congress party has at least one 48-year-old reason to celebrate — BJP's favourite - Pappu - the INC's crown prince has grown up. The recently published interview with the India Today team on board his fancy Falcon plane (India Today's words, not ours. We just saw plane windows and leather seats in the pics) is the best measure of his growth if you compare it with that time when he 'frankly' spoke to Arnab in 2014. You remember that one. The one where Women Empowerment, RTI and Development were his answers to questions that were potentially as incisive as "Priyanka or Deepika"?
Not only did he drop the Nehru jacket after Modi took over the patent for it (who except the INC old guard call it a Nehru jacket anyway? Not the Mountbattens for sure), but he also has different answers for different questions — he doesn't have to stick to women empowerment every time someone asks him something. He is learning the tricks of the trade as well. He now knows how to avoid questions by diverting the conversation somewhere else — the only problem is that he gets himself confused in the process.
Perhaps that indicates that we are just a little way off from having him refer to himself in the third person.
Sample Q: Does Rahul Gandhi hate Narendra Modi?
Sample A: Rahul Gandhi hugs. Rahul Gandhi never hates.
The journalists were also not that tough on him. They let him get away with statements like "There are more than enough documents..." and "Come at me with sophistication and I’ll come back at you with sophistication." They were letting him grow as well, I hope. But he seems to say Modi more times than he said any other word during the interview — 37 times. But RaGa has not learnt how to speak like a statesman, a leader yet. He tries hard to be cool but often ends up fuelling trolls — from statements like 'Call me Rahul' to 'My hug has love', this is more Bohemian Rhapsody than Election ka Baadshah at this point.
But all this does not explain why the Grand Old Party did not let the interview go on air. The way the interview reads, despite the discrepancies, it plays to Rahul's strength — it shows he has grown up and its high time he did. A message circulated on WhatsApp said that it was a disaster and Rahul asked them not to air it. We do not know if this is true. Nor do we know if Rahul is on WhatsApp, seeing as how he got on Twitter only 24 million years after it was discovered and Narendra Modi already had his own cool, blue tick thing going.
Maybe NYAY was his answer to all the questions. A recap of the 2014 Arnab debacle is the last thing they need. On tape it looks more ridiculous when you say that you are contesting from Kerala because you felt for the people of Tamil Nadu. But I think, like 2014, this time too someone had trained him for the interviews. Except, this time it was someone intense compared to the lazy guy who just taught him one answer last time (which is roughly the number of seats the Congress won anyway). Rahul was probably told to complicate every answer. When asked about which fruit he likes, he spoke about which yoga he likes. If he was trying to plug in the PM's Yoga on the rocks, no one got it.
No one owns Yoga like NaMo does. Word.
The content of the interview is readable and does not show him in a bad light. It must have been how he said it. Remember how he kept smiling after the 2014 results were out? It made headlines — he didn't even have to say anything. Congress cannot afford that, not if they want to win 2024.
The views expressed are the author's own and he hasn't grown up either. It's nothing to be ashamed of. After all, he still yearns for the day he can refer to himself in the third person too