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Marry me and other questions


LOCAL APPEAL: Rahul Gandhi gave up his helicopter to travel in the second-class compartment of a Mumbai local

Rahul's morning Jan Sabhas attract a cross-section of people, including some besotted girls.

Akey element of Rahul Gandhi's political activity, when he's in Delhi, is a daily Jan Sabha from 9 am to 10 am. A throwback to grandmother Indira Gandhi's time, there is a certain poignancy about Rahul's decision to revive the practice because it was at one such Jan Sabha that she was assassinated by her security guards in 1984.

Space constraints at his residence, 12 Tughlak Lane, have forced him to use his mother's 10 Janpath grounds where visitors of all kinds queue up in a large tin shed with requests, complaints, advice or simply for an audience with the grandson of Indira Gandhi.

Rahul's aides maintain that there is no effort to filter the visitor's list. Anyone can walk into the reception at 12 Tughlak Lane and put his name down for a slot in the Jan Sabha. Or people can telephone, email or fax for an appointment. While this gives Rahul an opportunity to meet a wide cross-section of people, it also exposes him to hazards like marriage proposals from love-struck girls. An aide says this happens every now and then and Rahul has learnt to take it in his stride. He responds with a polite smile.

The Gandhi scion seems to be a man of many moods and conflicting parts. There are stories about his encounters with Youth Congress workers which paint him as arrogant, brusque and aloof. For instance, he once chided a budding YC office-bearer in UP for wearing a watch that cost Rs 25, 000. Why do you need such an expensive watch, he is believed to asked witheringly.

In sharp contrast is the story of his dinner with HIV/AIDS kids at around Christmas time last year. The dinner was entirely his idea. Out of the blue, his office telephoned a care home run by a Delhi-based NGO for AIDS affected orphans and asked to meet the children over a meal. Those who attended the dinner were touched by the solicitousness he showed the kids.

According to his aides, Rahul likes to separate his political life from his personal one and usually signs off sometime in the evening so that he can relax with friends or just chill doing things he enjoys. And at night after 10 pm, he can be found working out at the gym.

His style of functioning is disconcerting for Congress workers. They are used to 24x7 politicians who happily abandon their private space to play power games. During his UP poll campaign, local leaders often found themselves shut out of Rahul's guest house after dark. Only his friends were permitted to enter.

Reader's opinion (2)

Avinash RaveendranJul 31st, 2012 at 19:06 PM

Can we rely on him to change our country's governance??? Only time can tell....Best of Luck to you Rahul Gandhi

Ranjit RadhakrishnanJul 31st, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Rahul Gandhi connects with ordinary people just as his father did.

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