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Rahul Gandhi Steps Up to the Plate, Swings, Misses

Rahul Ghandi

The heir to the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty in India, Rahul Gandhi, tried today to compete with the BJP’s Narendra Modi on Modi’s home turf: the business world. By many accounts, he failed to impress. Addressing a gathering of Indian business tycoons in Delhi, his speech was vague and long on imagery and empty clichés, suggesting that Rahul has few or no concrete ideas about how to address India’s many economic quandaries.

“Millions of Indians are brimming with energy,” said Rahul, according to Reuters. “We are now sitting on an unprecedented tide of transformation. This tremendous movement of people and ideas are going to define this country in the 21st century…. It’s our duty to provide India with an infrastructure that connects our villages and cities and the rest of the world.”

Criticisms of the “shy and secretive” 42-year-old Rahul came fast and furious. Before his speech had even ended, the hashtag #PappuCII began trending on Twitter (Pappu is a derogatory Hindi term meaning “dumb kid” and CII was the name of the conference he was speaking at). “A confused leader presented his confused ideology which nobody could understand,” the spokesperson for Modi’s BJP party told reporters. Rahul has “nothing to offer on the present problems” said former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.

One of the main factors contributing to the Congress Party’s slipping popularity is that its leaders either don’t know what to do or can’t summon the political energy to get the economy out of the doldrums. Modi has capitalized on this disillusionment, presenting himself as a no-nonsense, efficient businessman. If Rahul’s speech today represents the best he and his party have to say about India’s economic and social future, he has his work cut out for him.

[Rahul Gandhi image courtesy of Getty]

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  • Akshay Kanoria

    RG’s comments on China were what really made me feel disquieted. The fact that a man with his level of power and access could so publicly and unabashedly proclaim his complete lack of understanding of the 2nd largest economy in the world is shocking to me. I shudder to think what sort of foreign policy ideas he may come up with if he is Prime Minister next year. When I was watching that part of his speech, some part of me was thinking “WRM must be rolling his eyes right now.”
    His speech was very revealing, but not at all in the way you might think.

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