Rahul Gandhi is far from winning war but is getting battle ready

By: Ian Faria
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Rahul Gandhi
Rahul this time was in war mode. He is apparently more aggressive than he has been in most of his recent speeches. Starting with his crisp and neat pyjama kurta and his sleeveless jacket, he seemed to be very determined to make his strong points, and even refers to those present as ‘soldiers'. He is also ready to take on his arch rival, Narendra Modi. It seems he has decided to fight, but yet, he has not mentioned Modi even once. What is this? A strategy of being very parliamentary.... Or is it his fear of taking Modi head on in battle?

Reasonably good structure and strong intent:

His points are deliberate and focused on the changes that have been brought by the Congress Party including the RTI Act, NREGA,.... But since he is speaking in a loosely knit way, he is not as precise as in his earlier speech. He also has a strong reference to the remaining 6 Bills that have to be passed in Parliament, and which will bring more power to the eradication of Corruption. He is here directly attacking the main point that has weakened the party in UPA 2. Without reference to scams .... he has tried to cover their weakness by offering to pass anti corruption bills.

His direct instigation to Parliamentarians being upstaged in their exclusive domain as law makers is dramatically done.

Laws are being made by the people on the street... and the judges... It is you who truly represent the people of India.... What power do you have .... ??? ...We have to bring you back into law making.

Speaking make the leader:

In this speech... Rahul seems to be hitting his right rhythm. He is gesturing naturally.. pointing to people... requesting people to stand up and be recognized. He is even aware of people in the room who are nodding their heads. This indicates that he is comfortable and aware. A good sign for any speaker.... Is when you know what is happening to your audience and can respond appropriately.

He has the odd reference to metaphor.... Blood... soldier... fight... flight....

AAP nullification

The common people should be able to come into power with ease. Here he is showing that things need to be dramatically changed. He also refers to a ‘turning point' in the history of India.

They want participation... a fair deal... and they deserve it.

Warning Issued

The change that is taking place around us is unstoppable. He exhorts the part that they need to either wake up to the aspirations of the people or they need to hand back power. Rather strong statements - nay... almost a threat to those who are not going to be doing their jobs.

The battle is on...

• We are responding the immense demand for political and governmental reforms in a dynamic way that only the Congress Party is capable of doing. It means that unlike others (direct hint at Modi's and the BJP's style)... we do not complain about what is wrong without proposing any solutions. We do not respond by providing over simplified solutions... We do not respond by turning people against one another... turning on the fire of communal hatred... or handing over the power to one man....
• We respond from the soul of the values that built this great nation. (This reference is to a party that is stepped in tradition of caring for the country, as opposed to the other parties)
• India and the Congress Party are going there... (points one direction) and the opposition is going there.... (points in the opposite direction)
• Who passed it... ? The Congress Party passed it.
• We have 6 bills in Parliament... We want to give the country those bills.
• Dishonesty will be punished. Honest officers will be protected.
• We respond by giving them a minimum wage and the Highest growth rate in the history of this country.

Even in Hindi he asks:

Who will fight this fight? Those who have the Congress thoughts and history in their blood and in their minds.
He even speaks openly that in preparation for the next election, when the polling drum is beaten.... People from other parties will want to join the Congress party... and they will accept people who have the Congress Ideology in them. This is a very daring move by Rahul...

He has a strong reference to inclusive decision making... including getting views from farmers and party workers. He also has a number of references to the youth wing of the congress. He seems to be buoyed up by the young leaders of the party. His reference to asking for opinions in decision making is directly saying that the party is now open to inclusive decision making.

He also talks about the hall in the next 5 years having 50% attendance of women... and even 50% women Chief Ministers. He is surely here appealing to women voters.... And offering them power, and protection and respect... not just in speeches but in actions too.

In this speech he has a lot of use of gestures. Sometime he overuses these... but it is laudable that he has shifted his style in a major way through his gestures, his body language, posture... and his voice modulation. He seems to be well coached in the non-verbal part of this speech... and his message delivered with emotion and with gusto seems to have endeared him to the party members present.

His reference to the truth of the old leaders of the Congress... and the sneering reference to the marketing machinery used by the opposition parties... has almost a direct reference to them resorting to gimmickry. I feel here he has let down his standard a bit. Almost like hitting below the belt, and that too for someone who a few months earlier asked his party to be positive and only to speak of development and not negatives of their opponents.

Rahul Gandhi in Control

At the end he asks for silence... to discuss an important point.

Opposition is asking for removal of the congress party. These thoughts are in our hearts... love, respect... and he also says this is not something new... but is also been around for 3000 years... it can be found in the Gita, Akbar.... Gandhi... and the rest of the country...

The reference here is that the Congress Party is an old and established party.

Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate?

His clear reference to the PM being elected by the party's members of Parliament as indicated in the constitution seems to be a master stroke. Here he hits at the other parties who have nominated their leaders without taking into consideration the views of the elected members of that party in the house.

Appeal to a higher self?

He talks of respect to every single citizen of the country irrespective of who they are and what ideology they follow. He speaks of the softer powers of respect, love... and to struggle and to fight on with compassion in our hearts and faith in our future.

We will go into this battle as warriors with our head held high, knowing exactly who we are and what we stand for. He once again speaks of the fight... the battle and not stopping till the battle is one.


This speech has shown that Rahul has the stuff to lead the party. Judging by the responses from the crowd, he seems to have the vote of those present, though not entirely. At times, it did seem like his voice was cracking because he was forcing a stronger leader to emerge. His over dependence of gestures... some of them very predictable did, at times, seem repetitive. Overall, it is good to see the young leader do his bit to step out of his own shadow, and show the world that he has substance and can become a leader to contend with. In the meantime, he is far from winning the war... but it seems he is getting battle ready.

[The author -- Ian Faria is a corporate trainer and success coach. His forte is leadership and communication skills, and he is the founder of Talk Temple, a corporate soft skills training organization.]

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