Rahul Gandhi's AICC pyrotechnics was entertaining, not convincing

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who will lead his party in the next Lok Sabha elections, spoke in an unusually high pitch at the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) meet on Friday. The closed venue of the meeting perhaps made the sound effect more intense. But in terms of the content, how much successful was Rahul Gandhi in conveying his message across the table?

Rahul Gandhi, perhaps influenced by the pale phase that his party is undergoing at the moment, raised his pitch to make his speech count. He perhaps also had kept in his mind the fact that his party workers needed a boost after the top leadership announced on Thursday that Rahul wouldn't be the prime ministerial candidate.

But apart from initiating a counter-attack, could Rahul Gandhi prove anything substantial at the Talkotra Stadium on Friday afternoon? The answer is an emphatic NO. Rahul Gandhi's pyrotechnics only earned some claps from his 'home crowd'. Outside Talkotra and New Delhi, his stature wasn't helped an inch by whatever tactics he adopted at the crucial meet.

The reason is known. Rahul Gandhi's speech on Friday proved again that he has a limited capacity to turn his party's fortunes around and can only make some 'taught and trained' points from the top of a pyramid called Congress. How many could connect to him at the base of that pyramid, apart from feeling a temporary euphoria?

Rahul Gandhi was populist, welfarist and secularist, all at the same time. He spoke about the Congress's service to the people of the nation since before independence and how it aspires to continue with its noble mission in the future. Rahul Gandhi picked key constituencies like women during his speech but there was nothing substantial in what he said. "Mr Prime Minister, please allow 12 cylinders to be subidised, the women of India need it," was his order in disguise to the Indian governmment. Populism at its best, isn't it?

Rahul Gandhi's speech in front of a home crowd was more like hitting sixes in an exhibition match. His taunting the Opposition by saying "They can sell comb to a bald" or his patting Mani Shankar Aiyar for the latter's contribution to panchayati raj institutions in India on the day when he made a utterly derogatory comment against Narendra Modi certainly earned him claps but what was the net profit for the Congress? Modi, for instance, also makes taunting remarks about the Congress leaders but he also speaks a lot about administration. Rahul Gandhi lacked an edge in that regard.

It is much easier to entertain a 'home crowd' than convince a cynical one

The statement "Congress is a thought" is a valid one. But have the succeeding generations of the grand-old party followed that principle by heart? If they have, then why is there so much anger against the Congress among the common people? Has Rahul Gandhi given it a thought?

Rahul Gandhi's emergence on the central stage of the Congress has happened far too late. Why didn't he take up all these issues when the Congress began to sink 3-4 years earlier? Also, why didn't he take up issues with equal intensity in the Parliament all this time? Entertaining a homely crowd is a much easier job than convincing a bigger and cynical audience.

The microphones must have felt the heat while Rahul spoke on Friday. But certainly not his political opponents.

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