Rahul missed a trick in his reply to Singapore audience

by Ritwik on March 18, 2018

This article is published in The Quint

While Congress President Rahul Gandhi has greatly improved his political messaging in recent times, he still has some way to go in mastering political psychology.

It’s 2018. In common (mis)understanding socialism has failed. It’s an outdated ideology confined to the dustbin of history. For our shiny happy people [and especially for the shiniest happiest, ie NRIs] everything associated with the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru was a big error.

Non-aligned movement. Pooh. One should have followed Korea, Singapore, etc into the ‘embrace’ of America (curiously, Pakistan is not mentioned as an example in this regard).  Mixed economy. Disaster. Gave us the so-called Hindu rate of growth. Nationalisation of industry and five-year plans. Nonsense. Outdated economics. Ambaniji and Adaniji should’ve set the parameters of economic policy much earlier – the whole country would’ve glittered a la the IPL. And instead of the much derided MTNL we would’ve had ‘Jio’.

For the purveyors of the above ‘understanding’ of Indian history and society, the ideal nation state is represented by tiny Singapore. It’s orderly. It’s clean. It’s glittery. It’s shiny. It’s happy in being a protectorate of America. In short it is Paradise City (probably the name of a gated housing society in Gurgaon, which gets its vast aspirational value precisely in being a micro Singapore).

In Singapore, in 2018, the leader of India’s main Opposition party, the Congress, Rahul Gandhi was recently interacting with upper class members of the Indian diaspora. A fitting spokesperson of the demographic described above, one Prasenjit Basu, a self-described historian of Asia, asked Gandhi why (allegedly) the ‘growth rate’ of India has always been lower when ruled by the Gandhi family than by others.

If true, this statistic would in some ways count as one of the strongest commendations that the Nehru/Gandhi family has received in its storied history.

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