Though Rahul Gandhi came out as an honest person, the politician in him made little effort to hide behind the anecdotal speech and few minutes of question-answer session. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sold his ideas of government yesterday, Rahul Gandhi tried to sell the Congress party today.
The person, seen by his party as future prime minister, projected a rather simplistic and diffused picture of India as his idea. It was an opportunity for the India's top industrialists to hear the future leader, who also has considerable clout in the current government.
The Congress Vice-President lauded the achievements of the industry in making a mark on the global platform and called on them to bring in the poor into the fold.
He said said inclusive development, which does not leave behind any community, whether it is the dalits, the poor or the women, is the need of the hour.
"It is dangerous to leave people behind,'' he warned the businessmen, who are always looking for profit and leave the labour in suffering.
He added that inclusive growth is a win-win for all and that the industry too would notice an exponential growth if it is able to bring the disenfranchised into the fold.
Many industrialist were unanimous in their statement that Rahul Gandhi's speech was heartfelt, honest and self-critiquing. They also felt that it was a positive message from the Gandhi family scion.
They have to be happy as Rahul Gandhi said "I believe this country cannot move forward without you (industry). I am here to build a long-term partnership with you." The country cannot move forward unless Government and industry work together in close collaboration, he said.
He accepted that the political system has been unable to take all the segments of the country into its fold, leaving only a handful of people with the power to determine the future of a billion people.
"You can give one person all the power you want and he can't solve the problem of a billion people. Give a billion people the power to solve their problems and it will be done immediately."
India is bursting with this energy that has percolated down to the masses, he said. "No one can stop this tide of Indian aspirations. Our job is to channel these aspirations properly by empowering the people. That is possible only if we provide the infrastructure that can create jobs as well as create the conditions for the entire country to prosper."
To illustarte his point Rahul Gandhi resorted to anecdotes and spoke about a first-hand account of his experiences on the Lokmaniya Tilak Terminus Express from Bhubaneshwar to Mumbai that he once boarded to find out first hand what the internal Indian migrant is thinking about, his dreams, his vision.
Rahul Gandhi said, he moved from compartment to compartment speaking to the young men gathered there asking them what they were doing, where they were going, what their dreams and visions are and what is driving them to towns. The reply that he got was 'jobs'.
India, Rahul said is bursting with optimism and ideas. The 42-year-old Congress scion, formally addressing a gathering such as this for the first time, said, "We tend to think of India as a nation, but if we go back 100 years, India was actually a energy...a force".
Rahul Gandhi said this was the energy of this great country, this was the energy that must be harnessed to take the people from a position of poverty to one of prosperity.
"The system that we currently have is dysfunctional," said Rahul Gandhi.
"I got press guys asking when you are getting married. Somebody else saying, boss, when are you going to be the Prime Minister. Somebody saying, no your are not going to be PM, somebody say may be you will be PM. There is good possibility.
Some of the tweets during the speech:
Pawan Khera @Pawankhera: Unlike Chappan's bombastic 'I, me, myself' speeches, RG's was a refreshingly grounded 'India First' speech. Also guts 2 take questions#RGCII
Milind Deora @milinddeora: Hope industry realizes that the greatest opportunity comes when humility, inclusiveness & systemic change are chosen over arrogant rhetoric.
Sagarika Ghose @sagarikaghose: In sum: good ideas, unassuming persona, good strategic persona contrast with Namo, but still awkward in his shoes, too boyish.
Semu Bhatt @semubhatt: Rahul Gandhi is an excellent example for all Indian parents. DO NOT push your children into a profession they don't want to be in.
Smita Nayak @smna17: When RahulG says we r beehive, does he mean we shud work hard to make honey (money) and then politicians loot that Honey (money)? #PappuCII
Pawan K Goenka @GoenkaPk: Today was the best ever speech that I have ever heard from a politician -- speech by Mr. Rahul Gandhi at CII.