Day 28: When RaGa Met ArGo!!

Okay, credit should be given where it is due–Rahul Gandhi may or may not be many things but he surely is brave. It is a brave person who subjects himself to an hour-long interview with Arnab Goswami–all the more so if said person is in the unenviable position of being responsible for steering a sinking ship to safe shores.

Rahul Gandhi must certainly have known that he would have to face some tough questions–from a journalist who is not known for being polite or softspoken. The vision of Arnab Goswami banging his fist on his desk, glowering at his guest and shouting “the nation demands an answer” must surely make even seasoned politicos quake in their boots.

On the other hand, I also wonder if RaGa’s bravery didn’t verge on foolhardiness. What possessed him to allow Goswami to make mincemeat of him on prime-time television? Why couldn’t he at least learn from his mother who, as far as I remember, has only ever allowed Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt–both favourably disposed towards her–to interview her on television?

And if at all he had to take on Goswami, the least he could have done is to come prepared. He should have known that he would have to field questions on the desirability of dynasties in politics, for instance. I know it would have been difficult for him to justify his dynastic privilege and the rampant corruption in UPA regimes but at least he could have shown more earnestness in defending himself. For example, he could just have said that dynasties are not out of place in a democracy as long as they get voted in–just the lines his very own partymen employ to defend him–and have made a valid point.

Instead, he beat around the bush and did not appear to have to say much in his defense except that he did not choose to be born into the family! On the issue of corruption, he said it was the UPA government that brought in the RTI andΒ  and appeared to suggest that the RTI was the reason why so much corruption was exposed during UPA II. Not the best of arguments but well, this was tough to wiggle out of.

The issue on which Rahul Gandhi really tied himself up in knots was the 1984 riots vis-a-vis the 2002 riots. He said the difference between the two riots was that the former was not aided and abetted by the government of the day while the latter was. He eventually did admit that some Congressmen ‘may have been involved’ but continued to insist that the government had not really looked the other way–whatever that meant. And finally he was reduced to saying that at least he was not around when 1984 occurred ( and so he should not have to answer for it. ) He refrained from unequivocally condemning those involved and whatever regret he did express did not sound entirely sincere.

What irked me most was his tendency to start talking vaguely about entirely unrelated issues like women-empowerment and youth-empowerment at the drop of a hat. Women -empowerment in particular appeared to be his favourite phrase–he must have used it more than ten times in one hour. If RaGa thinks he can get women to vote for him by brandishing such terms, good luck to him.

In the end, it was Arnab Goswami who earned brownie points by giving Rahul Gandhi a good grilling, though he did tone down his aggressiveness a bit. I half-wished Arnab would pump his fist and do his ‘the nation demands an answer’ routine in front of Rahul Gandhi too. I quickly banished such evil thoughts from my head, though–surely poor RaGa was having a harrowing enough time as it was!

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9 Responses to Day 28: When RaGa Met ArGo!!

  1. Sorry for a longer than usual comment!
    But I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.
    Here is an email forward I had received and would like to share with you.

    Sudhir Srinivasan, Features Writer, Fledgling Author
    It’s pretty easy really.
    Arnab, all the way, but not in the traditional way you win a debate.

    Let’s say Navjot S. Sidhu and Arnab Goswami are debating an incident that just occurred in a India-Pakistan cricket match. Ganguly has just run Tendulkar out very evidently, and while Sidhu believes it’s Ganguly’s fault, Arnab doesn’t think so.

    Sidhu: Come on, Arnab. It’s quite clear that Ganguly has thrown both ends of the rope to a drowning Sachin!
    Arnab: (takes a moment to understand the analogy; doesn’t, but goes on anyway) But India needs an answer, Sidhuji! India needs an answer! Is Ganguly the answer to this problem? I don’t think so!
    Sidhu: My point seems to have buzzed past your nose like a bumblebee breaking wind.
    Arnab: (decides not to take any more time on live television to understand analogies) You’re blaming this on Ganguly? Sachin needs to own up! There was no run there! He let the entire Indian population down! Poor people are watching this match on the roads, Mr. Sidhu. And Tendulkar has let them down!
    Sidhu: Boss, Sachin was simply trying to make hay when things were going haywire.
    Arnab: That’s not the answer Mr. Sidhu! India NEEDS AN ANSWER! A billion Indians need to know why Sachin ran himself out. Will he own up to the mistake?


    Arnab: Welcome back. We have Mr. Sidhu here, and the question on all your lips, “Why did Sachin run himself out against Pakistan?” Is there an ulterior motive here Mr. Sidhu? Are things not what they seem? A billion Indians will go to bed crying tonight, Mr. Sidhu! Marriages could end tonight! Suicides could occur! Examinations will be failed! Can you imagine the disastrous repercussions this will have on the minds of the bourgeois, Mr. Sidhu? Sachin has let crores of people down. Period.
    Sidhu: Sachin must have realised now that at times of prosperity, your friends know you. At times of adversity, you know your friends.
    Arnab (ignores the analogy again): What about the crores of poor Indians, Sidhu? What about them? They have remained hungry, they have skipped work, they have taken time off their daily lives…
    Sidhu: Men of genius are admired. Men of wealth are envied. Men of power are feared. Men of character are trusted. Sachin is a man of …
    Arnab: He should’ve not taken that run, Sidhu! Pakistan have won the match now! Why did he not run himself out against Sri Lanka last week, but Pakistan this week? Clearly, the situation seems much more dire and sinister, Mr. Sidhu. Even you cannot ignore the possibilities!
    Sidhu: Mind is like a parachute, my –
    Arnab (interrupts again): It’s the sad state of affairs here, Mr. Sidhu. People spend their lives cheering for a cricket team, and this is how their God, Sachin, repays them.
    Sidhu: If you throw a good character and football-
    Arnab (interrupts again, and has decided not to let Sidhu have too much time): What about the lakhs of children who’ll cry themselves to sleep tonight? Do the powers that be have an explanation for the massive tragedy that has gripped the nation tonight?


    Arnab: Welcome back. Mr. Sidhu is as shocked as I am by the suspicions lingering around Sachin’s run out. He –
    Sidhu: No, I am –
    Arnab: It’s all right, Mr. Sidhu. We’re all as shocked as you are. This has come as a rude surprise to all the Indians. WE NEED AN ANSWER, AND WE’RE NOT LETTING THIS GO!

    And so on and so forth. Sidhu will eventually become a mute spectator, with every attempt at talking being interrupted by Arnab who launches a passionate, extremely loud attack on the powers-that-be, wondering why Sachin let down crores of Indians, and demanding an answer from Sidhu! He’ll wonder what sinister agenda the Government of Pakistan had in this matter. He’ll DEMAND ANSWERS.
    And people in the International Space Shuttle, apart from perhaps being able to see the Great Wall of China, will also be able to hear Arnab ask, “Why? Why were a billion Indians let down? WEEEE NEEEEEDDDD AAAANNNN AAAANNNSSSSWWWEEERRRR!”

    • Hahaha!! Sidhhu and Arnab in one frame will surely make a sight!

      What I also find funny about Arnab is how he pauses and looks around after making a particularly vociferous point–as if he expects the people in the studio to burst into applause!!!

    • Fem says:

      Oh man! Rock meets hard places. I really wouldn’t like to be caught between these two individuals in an argument, and I’m no wilting wallflower myself! Thanksk for the laughs. πŸ˜€

  2. R's Mom says:

    Ra GA went round and round and round and never came to the point..I found him pretty un impressive..but again, its my personal view πŸ™‚

  3. Here are some of the best tweets that came up in social networks in reaction to RG’s interview with Arnab:

    1) Padma Bhushan for Arnab Goswami for not embarrassing the nation by asking the full form of RTI to Rahul Baba

    2) Rahul & Arnab had well rehearsed the interview.. only problem was Arnab changed the sequence of questions. Rahul didn’t

    3) Sonia Gandhi : How was ur 1st TV interview ? Rahul Gandhi : v easy, Arnab’s questions were alike

    4) Kapil Sharma is going to sue Rahul Gandhi for being a threat to his career as a comedian

    5) Arnab Goswami threatened to resign if he’s aaked to do one more interview with Rahul Gandhi.
    Arnab: What’s your view on Kejriwal? Rahul: He is the leader of opposition like others.
    Arnab – do u blame yourself for price hike? raga -I believe in empowerment of women so i went to kerela!

    6) Finally Secret behind PM’s silence revealed… he believes silence is better than Rahul’s lead.

    7) The similarly between Rahul Gandhi and Namo is that both inspire you to vote for BJP !!

    8) Rahul Gandhi normally visits those affected by huge natural disasters. When is he visiting himself?

    9) For once, Rahul Gandhi made Indian realize that a mute (but intelligent) PM is way better than a dumb one!

    10) Arnab to be arrested for child harassment

    11) RaGa speaks, markets crash 2%!

    12) Rahul Gandhi inadvertently launched a massive election campaign for the BJP today!

    13) Arnab:how was Modi responsible for 2002 riots? Rahul: we want to empower our women.

    14) Arnab: Who will win the football world cup this year? RG: Women Empowerment & RTI

    15) Arnab Goswami intentionally leaked the wrong paper and then boom!a shocker for Rahul Gandhi

    16) I pity Arnab Goswami not pappu for the fact he could not laugh at life’s best laughing moment..

    17) Arnab: pleasure talking to you RaGa: I love HeroHonda pleasure too, why should boys have all the fun, women empowerment

    18) Salman:I thought I will not slap anyone after slapping Vivek Oberoi, but then, I heard Rahul Gandhi speaking today

    19) Another half an hour and Rahul Gandhi would have said “Modi lao Desh Bachao”

    20) Arnab:Sir,why u saving Ashok Chavan?Rahul: Ashok Kumar? Arnab: No,Ashok Chavan.Rahul:Chouhan? We need to empower women.

    21) It feels as if Rahul Gandhi came prepared for Physics paper but got Biology exam instead

    22) A teacher giving example Rahul’s interview as example to his student… Dear students, This is exactly what will happen if u don’t study the entire year & open the books a day before the exam

  4. //10) Arnab to be arrested for child harassment
    14) Arnab: Who will win the football world cup this year? RG: Women Empowerment & RTI
    15) Arnab Goswami intentionally leaked the wrong paper and then boom!a shocker for Rahul Gandhi //
    I loved these three the best! The RG interview has spawned innumerable jokes–poor Rahul Gandhi! Wonder what Sonia Gandhi thinks of the fiasco!

  5. aarthy says:

    I am amazed at how little RG knows about the field he is supposedly in! If you are a professor of a particular subject, you must have a footing in it even if you cannot know it all. Same goes for a politician too. But this guy is just clueless. A high school kid can do better than him with training. His atrocious answers only show that he has taken no interest to do any ground work for the big job that he has taken up. I cannot forgive an adult for not doing his job, especially after taking such a big one that has a huge impact on the country itself.
    Have you seen Jayalalitha’s interview with Arnab? He shakes in his boots while she gives such sensible and confident answers. Now that is a seasoned politician! I am not a great fan of hers but I admire her competence in politics.

    • True!! His father too was famously disinclined towards politics but at least he gave decent speeches and made sense when he spoke! Rahul Gandhi in contrast comes across as not just disinterested but totally clueless!

      Will look up the Jayalalithaa interview for sure. Must be fun to watch Arnab quake in his boots πŸ™‚

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