Millennium Post

Rahul in line of fire in Economist

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came under a scathing attack from the foreign media, now it is the turn of the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to face the heat. In an article targeting the Gandhi scion, the British magazine The Economist asks 'What is the point of Rahul Gandhi?'

The article 'The Rahul Problem' reads, 'The 42-year-old scion of the Gandhi dynasty, which has long dominated India’s ruling party, is still the most plausible prime ministerial candidate for Congress at the looming 2014 election. In advance of that, possibly within weeks, he may get some new party post (some talk of a “vice presidency”) or possibly a government job (as rural affairs minister, perhaps?). A cabinet reshuffle is awaited, with the washed-out monsoon session of Parliament swirling down the drain.'

Then the article goes on to question his political beliefs. It says: 'The problem is that Mr Gandhi has so far shown no particular aptitude as a politician, nor even sufficient hunger for the job.... Nobody really knows what he is capable of, nor what he wishes to do should he ever attain power and responsibility. The suspicion is growing that Mr Gandhi himself does not know.'  

The piece also slams Gandhi's close group of confidantes and consultants. 'Part of the problem is presumably the coterie of advisers who surround Mr Gandhi. Western-educated, bright and eager to cosset their leader within a very small bubble, they appear unready for the messy realities of Indian politics: the shady alliances that are required to win elections; the need to strike deals with powerful regional figures who increasingly shape national politics; the importance of crafting a media strategy in an era of cable TV news,' read the piece. 

Incisive and pessimistic portrayal of Indian leaders is nothing new in the international media. Gandhi is merely an addition to this list. Earlier, the prime ministers ranging from Singh,  Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narasimha Rao have been slammed by the foreign media. Singh was recently dubbed as a 'tragic figure' by The Washington Post, while Time magazine labelled him as 'the underachiever' and to top the chart was The Independent's headline which read 'Manmohan Singh: India's saviour or Sonia's poodle?'
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