India's Barack Obama? A Reformist? : Sweet But Fruitless Dreams For Rahul

Rahul Gandhi either doesn’t speak and if he does speak, it seems is as if he is exposing his own weaknesses himself.  The ruling power in the country is Rahul Gandhi, never mind if informally. He has a status which allows him to answer the questions of the people of the country. But he seems to ask questions like some helpless, incapacitated person. Then his political understanding appears to be zero in the true sense. He is seen on TV smiling, shaking hands with young college people. But he never gives a statement on issues like corruption, Kashmir, secularism, communalism, reservation, the fast spreading disappointment among the youth, decrepit primary education and health care system or on issues like the killing by a Haryana Panchayat. Neither does he come for TV debates. And yet, he is nurturing a desire to be seen as India’s Barack Obama. 


leadRahul Gandhi does not want to remain Rahul Gandhi but become Barack Obama. Rahul Gandhi is a very average leader compared to Barack Obama but despite this Rahul feels that if he adopts Barack Obama’s style, his pithy assessments, his expressive demeanour he will be able to win the hearts of the youth of the country and in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, will ensure that Congress banners and flags are hoisted and flutter aloft. In this context, Rahul has started working hard. And for this Rahul Gandhi is taking full help from American President Barack Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager and political consultant Stephanie Cutter. In President Barack Obama winning elections the second time round, Cutter’s advice played a major role. Consequently these days, Rahul Gandhi’s tours and form of delivering speeches are being prepared according to Cutter’s guidelines. Of late, whether it was the Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the CII or whether, after severe criticism and reactions to his non-appearance, it was his tour of calamity affected areas and people of Uttarakhand, whether it is his silence over attacks from the Opposition parties, everything is being done in Barack Obama’s style, because in India Rahul Gandhi wants to become the ‘father of a silent revolution’ in the same way that Obama did in the US.
When Barack Obama won the second time, he had said in his Presidential address to the nation that “we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.” These days Rahul Gandhi too is repeating the same phrases. He is saying that the whole Congress party is like one family, and everyone must work together for the development of the country and society. Not only this, before scoring a victory in the country in the next Lok Sabha elections Rahul Gandhi wants to first fulfill the dream of yet again securing the seat of Delhi. In his understanding, Cutter’s advice that securing the capital of the country will have an effect on the psyche of people in the whole of the country has hit home, that if the Congress follows Rahul’s guidelines and once again wins in Delhi, it will not be difficult to rule over India.
In a way, Rahul started the exercise of becoming Barack Obama in 2009, but his efforts bore fruit in March this year, when on Rahul Gandhi’s invitation, Barack Obama’s advisor, Stephanie Cutter came to India. The two had a long meeting in the war room of the Congress party situated at Delhi’s Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road and Cutter became informally involved with Rahul’s team. It was on the advice of Cutter that Rahul Gandhi prepared a Quick Response team on Barack Obama’s election campaign model and began making the social media a means of campaigning. The aim was that in a crisis or in case of any controversy Rahul’s Quick Response team would on behalf of the party, prepare a superb and rousing reply to any criticism or allegations and reach out to the people through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Like Barack Obama, Rahul Gandhi wants to create the best Indian political campaign team. On the suggestions of Barack Obama’s advisor, Stephanie Cutter, the Akhil Bharatiya Congress Committee’s Facebook account has been made very active. The mouthpiece of the Youth Congress, ‘Yuva Desh’ has also come on Twitter. Modelled on the website Khirkiyan (Windows). com it has been made a forum of debate and deliberations for party supporters.
The seven member team that Rahul has set up for this task includes Ahmed Patel, Digvijay Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, V. Narayansami, Manish Tiwari, Sandeep Dixit and Deependra Hooda. In familiarising and training Rahul in Barack Obama’s ‘tricks of the trade’, Rahul’s long time Guru Sam Pitroda, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies Director Dr. G. Mohan Gopal, Cabinet Minister Jairam Ramesh and Rahul’s advisor and MBA graduate Sachin Rao along with some management gurus are fully engaged. So much so that even for preparing the draft of the Congress agenda in 2014, a study of Obama has been included. This is the reason why in the speech given at the CII, in front of the country’s industrialists, Barack Obama’s ‘stamp’ could clearly be seen in the physical expression and demeanour of Rahul Gandhi. In his earlier speeches, Rahul Gandhi used “we have done, we will do” type of words, because of which he was also mocked quite a bit. But now Rahul Gandhi has latched on to Barack Obama’s miraculous words, “we can” and has started saying around the country, “we can do it.” In other words, Rahul Gandhi now wants to become an emissary, a messenger of the hopes and expectations of the people of the country and through that, create an opportunity for the party and for himself. Obama’s advisor Cutter has made Rahul understand that equipped with electronic gadgets urban Indian youth will certainly make him the Barack Obama of India.

The issue is that all these attempts by Rahul Gandhi are not wiping out the difference between his ‘saying’ and his ‘doing’. Even after all  his attempts, a large segment of the youth of the country is not willing or ready to put its faith in him the way faith was put on Barack Obama. So much so that even an ordinary worker of the Congress and even an ordinary Hindustani who wanted to be part of those who had hope in him are all very disappointed.

This is the reason why these days, even though surrounded by criticism and jeers, Rahul Gandhi, never mind if its early or late, has started to stand up on behalf of party to solve every problem. In exactly the same way in which, when America was staggering under difficulties during the term of George Bush, Barack Obama presented himself in the form of a hope before the people. Even though there are no similarities between the political situations in India and America, nor are social conditions comparable, it has started to seem to Rahul Gandhi that in Indian politics he can become the father of change and can give birth to political reforms.
Rahul Gandhi is very well conversant with the fact that a large segment of the country thinks he is politically immature, makes fun of him and thinks that only the “Gandhi” surname accounts for

his ‘abilities’. All kinds of crude things are said about his going amidst the poor and Dalits, but even then Rahul Gandhi is not asking his advisors to desist from implementing their policies. Perhaps because in the choice of leaders he has started saying, “Not the Prime Minister, but the Pradhan will take the country forward”.
To take these things and his thoughts and ideas to the people, Rahul has, after forming an integrated media cell, entrusted the responsibility to Ajay Maken. This confidence and trust is also quite similar to what Barack Obama reposed in his friend and old associate, Biden.
Everyone knows that in his election campaign Barack Obama had given the highest importance to clarity, transparency and sharpness. Rahul is also adopting something similar. In that Uttar Pradesh where in the Assembly Elections Rahul Gandhi, despite his utmost efforts, lost because of internal strife and conflicts, he now does not hesitate to speak in stern words about the situation and the leaders there. In the Pradesh Congress leaders meetings Rahul has started berating them by saying that “In the State there is so much groupism that here on the roads about 200 Chief Ministers can be seen and the number of brilliant people with potential is so much that some amongst them want to become the United Nations Secretary-General.”
The first Indian Minister of Panchayati Raj and Rahul’s father, Rajiv Gandhi’s close colleague, Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar says that opponents may make fun of these efforts of Rahul Gandhi, but they cannot ignore that Rahul Gandhi has initiated a striking process of
democratisation of a political organisation. In the Youth Congress Rahul Gandhi resorted to totally transparent policies and interviews. Even though Rahul Gandhi himself is a dynastic symbol in Indian politics, he took this initiative of political reforms. About five thousand MPs-MLAs are deciding the fate of the country and the selection of those five thousand people is being done by barely two hundred people. This means that actually it these two hundred people who are running the country. Rahul Gandhi seeks to end this opaque political process. The results of this campaign, this ‘systematic plan’ of Rahul Gandhi’s to complete an ‘arduous task’ may take time to come in, but this step will prove to be as revolutionary as was his father Rajiv Gandhi’s step of Panchayati Raj. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that Rahul Gandhi is directionless or he does not understand politics. But yes, he has not yet been tested, Aiyar says.
However, other than loyalists of the party and Rahul, if we glance at Rahul Gandhi’s ‘political’ perseverance and diligence even then it seems clear how impatient he is to adopt Barack Obama’s principles and style. His impatience can also be seen in the amalgamation of two groups of the Delhi Congress and formation and declaration of a new State Congress. The way Barack Obama won the elections for the second time with the joint support of new and old colleagues and then publicly thanked both old and new colleagues and in public expressed his gratitude, Rahul is also thinking of something similar. Rahul prepared a new team by bringing together old and new faces in the Delhi Pradesh Committee. By putting Bihar Muslim leader Shakeel Ahmed in charge of the Committee, Rahul made a special effort to draw towards the Congress Muslims and Purvanchalis living in Delhi.
But the issue is that all these attempts by Rahul Gandhi are not wiping out the difference between his ‘saying’ and his ‘doing’. Even after all his attempts, a large segment of the youth of the country is not willing or ready to put its faith in him the way faith was put on Barack Obama. So much so that even an ordinary worker of the Congress and even an ordinary Hindustani who wanted to be part of those who had hope in him are all very disappointed. Because even after getting innumerable opportunities, till today Rahul Gandhi has not been able to do anything meaningful that would awaken hopes from him. Rahul talks of transparency, but when it comes to implementing it, he defaults. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitendra Singh, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, or advisor Kanishka Singh could become Rahul Gandhi’s trusted people because they come from a political background.
Even after the cooperation and inputs from Sam Pitroda, Jairam Ramesh and Cutter, Rahul Gandhi’s speeches are not able to impress or reach out, nor are they able to awaken any near or far-seeing hopes. So far, one has not heard Rahul Gandhi giving any quick reaction or response to any of the issues facing the country. Nor has an analytical stand been seen on any issue. Rahul Gandhi always appears to be fighting shy of the media. The way and ease with which Barack Obama mixes and talks even today with a common American and is seen participating in public programmes  Rahul Gandhi excels as much  but in adopting secrecy. In Parliament, he does speak once in a very long while, but never in relation to any policy framework. He does not speak about solutions to the problems under which the country is reeling currently. Instead, he becomes an object of ridicule by
speaking of superficial things. Given this situation and circumstances, it is obvious that for Rahul Gandhi to become like Barack Obama can be a beautiful golden dream, but it cannot be converted into reality.

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