Rahul loses it!

Rahul also appeared to have lost trust in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the same venue a day earlier, Singh told the CII that industry should keep its faith in government, but Rahul dismissed this by saying: “If you expect Manmohan Singh to solve our problems, it’s not going to happen.”

Rahul Gandhi: Lost in... thoughts?

Rahul Gandhi: Lost in… thoughts?

Parkala Observer: Shrikant N ShenoyThe speech at CII was full of pauses, stumbles and fumbles. First he dropped some pages of his speech. Then he mixed up the pages. He even admitted it: “I have lost it!”

But those who gathered at the conclave were polite. No one laughed initially, but since the cam did not pan in on the audience, we do not know whether they were chuckling under their hankies!

He was asked a question about the how relations between the business community and the state could be improved, he started talking about centre-state relations and went rambling on about something else, but then came back and said the problem is devolution of powers.

Another question was on the pressing need to tackle water scarcity, but  Rahul talked about the need to restructure how political parties select MLAs!

One could, however, hear some polite coughs.

After the event, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prakash Javadekar said: “Instead of answering questions, he was asking questions. It is a tacit admission that nothing has been done. It was clear that there was Modiphobia, and Rahul Gandhi was in a confused state of mind.”

“Rahul’s speech reflected that he lives in his own world. He was meant to answer what has happened in the nine years (of UPA rule) but there was no mention of corruption or inflation,” he said.

Rahul also appeared to have lost trust in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the same venue a day earlier, Singh told the CII that industry should keep its faith in government, but Rahul dismissed this by saying: “If you expect Manmohan Singh to solve our problems, it’s not going to happen.”

And what did India Inc have to say: “It was an outstanding speech… a level 5 speech. He understood importance of technology and inclusion… gives us hope as future leader,” Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Airtel, said.

Adi Godrej said “Rahul Gandhi talked about inclusion. Policy is not his realm so he did not talk about that. He spoke on relevant issues.”

But India Inc has to be diplomatic and nice to the ruling party’s vice president. After all, there is still some more time for the Lok Sabha elections.

HT poll on Rahul Gandhi's speech at CII

HT poll on Rahul Gandhi’s speech at CII

But elsewhere, the aam aadmi slammed Rahul Gandhi’s speech. On Hindustan Times, a snap poll showed over 73 per cent saying his speech was “poor” and less than 16 per cent rating his speech as “excellent” or “good”. On NDTV, he got 4.4 out of 10 where more than one lakh people voted.

Except for Congress cheerleaders, social media gave a thumbs down to Rahul’s speech.  A cartoon depicted it all.

It was left to Sanjay Jha to defend Rahul’s speech. He tweeted: “Rahul Gandhi’s speech is that of a statesman. #RGCII . Easily the best ever by any politcian in decades.” And yet again, “Rahul Gandhi sweeps the nation; a stimulating, powerful, knock-out speech reminiscent of Barack Obama at his best.”

Jha also was tweeting crticisms of those who panned Rahul’s speech: “I am amused by the atrocious and absurd @KanchanGupta . Does he just smoke or bite and swallow the cigar??? Sounds high! ! :-))”

Kanchan Gupta, a known Congress baiter, replied: “Boss I don’t smoke a cigar. Will leave cigars to you and Monica Lewinsky. :))”

A cartoon on Twitter

A cartoon on Twitter

Gupta had tweeted earlier: “Rahul Gandhi repeatedly said we’re a ‘beehive’. He confused India with Congress. A beehive has a queen bee and an army of neutered soldiers.”

Gupta also pointed out that “Rajiv Gandhi was called ‘knight in shining armour riding a white horse’. Today Rahul Gandhi said knights on horses deliver nothing.”

Kanchan Gupta’s tweets pointed out Rahul’s naivety (read more here).

PS: I was reminded of Rahul’s late father Rajiv Gandhi’s speech in the eighties while addressing an NSUI meeting at Bombay’s famous Shanmukhananda Hall. It was a laugh riot. The students were laughing at almost each of Rajiv’s statements like “hame banana hai” and “hame dikhana hai”!

Read what some others say: Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Firspost

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