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Rahul Gandhi's recent interviews underscore his megalomania, show why he remains unfit for public office

The India Today interview of Rahul Gandhi that was published in the group’s magazine but wasn’t aired on its TV channel (despite promos and teasers) for reasons unknown, proves a simple point. The Congress president is unfit for any public office, leave alone serving as India’s prime minister.

It is difficult to reach any other conclusion after going through the transcript of the interview. The interviewers were sympathetic. Not too many tough questions were asked, Rahul was given a free pass on dubious claims and allowed to go unchallenged on what he claimed were “facts”. They let him speak — and that is all the encouragement that the dynast needed to expose his ineptitude anew.

Obviously, this wasn’t the first time Rahul has made a case against himself in public life. What came through in the interview, however, was that the Gandhi scion has sank deeper into his dystopian reality and started believing in own delusions.

This happens when a cocooned dynast — who has not been exposed to the rough and tumble of life, or has never done a real job to earn a living — is airdropped onto the top of an organisation not on merit but entitlement, and surrounds himself with sycophants who are determined to tell him only what he wants to hear.

 Rahul Gandhis recent interviews underscore his megalomania, show why he remains unfit for public office

Rahul Gandhi after addressing a press conference in Delhi on Saturday. PTI

The ‘leader’ becomes cut off from reality, develops an exaggerated sense of self-importance and starts believing that the world revolves around him. It isn’t a crime for a leader not to be an orator. For instance, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee are not known for their oratorical skills. Yet, they have repeatedly won electoral success and established their credentials as chief ministers and mass leaders.

It is possible that Rahul’s grasp of reality is not sound enough for him to be able to deal with complex questions on policy and politics that he is expected to answer as a challenger to the prime minister. Then, he needs to do his homework and come up with sane responses to legitimate questions. The answers that he came up with are beyond belief.

What makes things worse in Rahul’s case is that his ineptitude is accompanied by a megalomania breathtaking in expanse. This has degraded his ability to self-detect the inconsistencies and gaps of logic in his arguments. And since nobody within his party dares point out to him these anomalies, his delusion becomes progressively deeper and may eventually become incurable.

For instance, when asked in the India Today interview whether he would like to be the prime minister or is ready to be one, the Congress president comes up with a sensible answer. “Who am I to say that? About 900 million people are casting their votes, it’s up to them to decide. Whoever they choose, I’m happy with that.”

He says much the same thing in a recent NDTV interview.

This would mean that Rahul grasps the key factor in a democracy — it is the people who decide and choose their leaders. Keeping this in mind, let us see scrutinise his answer to a rather innocuous question on his fitness mantra. While describing the value of persistence in fitness, Rahul draws a political equivalence.

“Everyone told me Mr Narendra Modi can’t be defeated. I said, 'Yeah, you really think so?’ I asked them, Tell me what Mr Narendra Modi’s strength is.’ They said, His strength is his (incorruptible) image.’ I said, Okay, I’m going to rip that strength to pieces. I’m going to take it and shred it.’ And I’ve done it. Persistence, my friend! Keep going and keep going and keep going. And I will keep going until the truth on Rafale is out!”

This is an extraordinary comment at multiple levels. At one level, it shows Rahul’s confusion about key tenets in a democracy. It is not for Rahul or any other politician to “rip into shreds” the reputation of a rival who enjoys popular support and mass appeal. Even after five years in power as prime minister, Narendra Modi’s popularity far exceeds that of his rivals, and he punches even above the weight of his own party. His popularity graph, according to surveys and opinion polls, instead of dipping towards the end of tenure seems to have got a second wind after the Balakot air strikes.

It is breathtakingly arrogant for the Gandhi scion to assume that he can make the electorate think on his terms and sway their opinion. The logic behind his assertion isn’t clear.

At another level, these comments reveal that Rahul’s charges against Modi on the Rafale deal are fictional. These charges are not based on facts but driven by Rahul’s self-declared urge to “rip Modi’s strength (incorruptible image) into pieces”. What’s more, Rahul is convinced that he has done his job (of damaging Modi’s image ostensibly through concocted charges and insinuations). This may also explain why Rahul continues to play truant with facts on the Rafale deal "controversy" and remains entitled to his own unverified and constantly fluctuating statistics.

We shall soon know whether Rahul’s confidence is well-founded or misplaced, but from surveys and reportages, it seems that allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal have failed to catch public attention and Modi still enjoys an image of incorruptibility despite Rahul’s effort to “rip it into pieces”.

Rahul’s comments on the privatisation of public sector entities such as Air India are equally worrying. Not because he believes in socialism, capitalism or market economy. It is not clear what exactly he believes in, because his answers are fuzzier than mist on a winter morning in Delhi.

The question by the India Today interviewers was rather straight: “Are you for or against public sector disinvestment? Does Air India need to be shut down?”

Rahul’s answer: “This, if I may be blunt with you, is too basic a question: are we against it or for it?” He goes on to say that the Congress has a strategy on public disinvestment, and he hates being asked these “simplistic” questions. “This is not the kind of question you should be asking a national political leader, it’s the kind of question you ask high school kids. Come at me with sophistication and I’ll come back at you with sophistication.”

It is unclear what exactly Rahul means by “sophistication”. Perhaps it is his belief that "my mother is my sister. My sister is my mother." He insists, "They are the same thing, the same force. They are not different." This level of “sophistication”, one suspects, might boggle the minds of ordinary folks.

Rahul shows the same level of “sophistication” while dealing with a question on his favorite fruit. According to him, “vipassana” has made his mind so adaptable that his mind can “construct the flavour of the fruit”. Which apparently means that, “You can choose to like mango, you can choose to hate it. You can choose to like poor people, you can choose to hate them. You construct everything in your mind. The mind decides everything.”

Interestingly, the India Today group seems to have chosen not to telecast the interview on its TV channel. One of the journalists belonging to the group clarified on Twitter that “this was never meant to be a TV interview. It was always a magazine interview alone. The Congress president’s office did a video recording for their own purpose. We do not have a copy of the video recording. Print interview has been published in the magazine this week."

This clarification, however, runs thin on facts, because the media house had run promos and teasers of this interview on its channel.

It is quite clear that the understanding was that this interview was meant to be aired. The group wouldn’t have run promos based on the Congress’ material. It is not clear at what stage it was taken off air, why and whether the group came under any sort of political pressure in not airing it.

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Updated Date: May 04, 2019 19:21:13 IST