‘It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt’ – Mark Twain.
Almost a month since Rahul Gandhi, VP of the Congress Party gave his first formal TV interview to the Times Now news channel and the online world is flooded with jokes and parodies ridiculing it and one cant help but remember Mark Twains words.
Happened to see the interview. Here are the few pointers;
- What appeared that he had a stock reply in store for questions for which he either didnt have any answer to or chose not to answer. This is not the worst of strategies if handled tactfully. Repeating
- Avoided a mud slinging match with Modi despite being provocated over it.Appeared earnest and sincere on most issues
Bad: Replying to questions with TOTALLY unrelated answers aint a good strategy in an atmosphere which is so negative. It bound to attract ridicule and negative PR. A corollary of it is that it appeared that he didnt have plan or a vision for the country which was concrete. Just a vague grandiose plan to “change / open up the system” etc. It just wont gain currency with the voter, especially the young aspiring voter who has entered or on the verge of entering the job market.
- Regarding politically sensitive issues like the 1984 pogram that resulted in the massacre of thousands of Sikhs, he could have followed what his mother and his party’s PM had done. That is to tender an apology. Which is what is his partys stance on it. By taking a combative stance on it, he seemed to have ruffled feather.
Ideally he should have started his interview series say on a DD, after which he could have graduated to the popular channels with grilling anchors. Already the international media has termed RaGa as "lacklustre heir apparent". RaGa cannot afford this since competition is severe and unforgiving. The narrative, too, has changed with development & jobs high on voter wish-list. Accepting the mistakes of his party led government and highlighting the achievements along with a concrete vision for the future would augur well. Ambiguity with respect to his vision, saying things like "want to change the system " & "women's empowerment" just wont click as people want action. Apparently RaGa had planned a media blitzkrieg with inteviews in television and print. But after the disaster he seems to have rolled back his plans.