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Chalti ka naam Gandhi

Updated on: 09 June,2024 07:43 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

But then you walked 4,000 kms. That walk, man, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari… the Bharat Jodo Yatra, was the gamechanger—you literally walked the talk. 

Chalti ka naam Gandhi

Illustration/Uday Mohite

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Rahul Da CunhaMmmmm, Rahul dude, first things first, congrats on the double whammy… Wayanad and Rae Bareli. And the 99 seats of course. Throwing missiles at the NDA for stock market scams, a day after the election results, hmmm interesting—a massive departure from your “Pappu” avatar when Arnab took you apart on TV. I remember thinking, man, you don’t need this, are you even interested, nepotism in politics can swing either way, and the Gandhi dynasty is a hard cross to bear, was it a millstone or milestone? Obviously, your great grandfather’s footprint is still deeply embedded in the sand, fifty years on—your iron lady grandmother and her legacy, your dad who moved from pilot to having to pilot the nation, big boots to fill. Did you wanna join politics, or were you forced to inherit the “family business”? People made fun of you, with good reason, you were clearly floundering, “why doesn’t the Congress ‘privatise”, “why doesn’t the party choose “youngification” over “old fogeyism” was the refrain. The cobwebs were visible.


Over the years, you still didn’t seem to have picked up political acumen or craft or craftiness. But it amused me that you still managed to get under the skin of your rivals. How is that? Was it your “privileged background”? Being a scion of the First Family of Indian Politics?


But then you walked 4,000 kms. That walk, man, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari… the Bharat Jodo Yatra, was the gamechanger—you literally walked the talk. 


We sensed serious intent.

You were certainly “fit” for office, forgive the pun. 

And then this election happened, oh man, you strode into battle, both hands tied behind your back—your coming of age, so to speak—all 240 odd seats seemed to have your hand in it. You won from your own two constituencies, worked tirelessly in the sweltering heat, with the “rulers” trying every sleazy trick, every strong-arm tactic, including freezing your funds, insulting your family, and you found a way to fight through. 

I’m sensing you’ve earned some respect from Pawar, and Mamata and Yechury and Omar, Stalin for sure. Obviously, the Uttar Pradesh 30 odd seats were the most impressive victory. I fully enjoyed how you and Akhilesh went about the plotting and the planning. The fact that you two came to be called “UP ke do ladke”—a feather in your invisible cap and he in his red one.

One thing's for sure, the reboot has begun—you seem to have grown up, albeit in your mid-fifties… from privileged child to Prime Minister-in-waiting—of course India is scattered, fragmented, many hues and colours, and there are heroes and heroines, and demi gods and semi-gods, and despots and nepots (products of nepotism), and show-ponies and ex-cine stars, and men with criminal records, and sons of the soil, and strong men. We’re divided by language and land and linguistics and lawlessness, so that’s a challenge— and if you have the privilege to step onto the ultimate pedestal, just a few things, in my humble view. We’re done with pointed fingers backed with empty promises—I hope you pick the right men for the job. To respect and revere them.

Dude how you plan the next five years is the key, for the 50 per cent of the country below 25… You may not know the future of the I.N.D.I.A Bloc but hopefully you truly care about India. The biggest Democracy cannot be led with hypocrisy. Deities cannot take precedence over development, and the building of massive temples won’t impress the jobless. The wool over people’s eyes has worn thin, fear cannot mask that fact that people are fatigued.

Be the best Opposition you can be… we haven’t had that in a while. Go well, dude. Live up to your first name.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahul.dacunha@mid-day.com

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