On Obama’s Opinion About Rahul Gandhi

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PACHU MENON, Margao

While concurring with the view that no foreign politician is entitled to proffer distasteful remarks on Indian political leaders, former US president Barack Obama’s opinion about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should, however, encourage the scion of the Gandhi family to be more resolute and cultivate a persona that would rightfully be an embodiment of maturity and responsibility expected of one from a family that has irrefutably guided the destiny of the nation for so many years. While Obama’s knowledge about Indian political affairs may be debatable, it requires no reading between the lines to realise that the former president’s estimation of Rahul Gandhi’s leadership qualities is based on the media caricaturing of the Gandhi scion as a ‘King who never was.’ Obama has described Rahul Gandhi as having a “nervous unformed quality about him,” like a student eager to impress the teacher, but “lacking aptitude and passion to master the subject.” Only serving to affirm the general opinion maintained about him in the country, the former president’s comments shows up Rahul as ‘a reluctant leader forced into circumstances and explains much of his recalcitrance and abandonment of Congress affairs after the Lok Sabha debacle of 2019.’ The comments by a world leader about the young leader may have ruffled a few feathers in the Congress and the other parties supporting it, but the fact remains that by virtue of being swamped by the Modi-wave in the country today, all the other leaders in the present political scenario are inconsequential and pale in comparison to the colossus that Modi is today. In such a setting it is very easy to pick on the opposition and especially the Congress, which for decades has had an enviable run at the Centre. So, it follows that as the most visible face of the party, Rahul Gandhi would be hounded incessantly by the BJP for his (mis)demeanors. It is indeed unfortunate that the former president’s comments have come at a time when there’s apparently an all-round clamour for the Gandhi scion’s re-emergence as the leader of the Congress party.