Lalu Prasad stole the show. He flared his nostrils and charged. On Tuesday, we saw him gather his straying flock and march, as if to war, on the Bihar Assembly. After flaunting nine out of the 13 RJD MLAs who had left the party in the front of the speaker, he was ready for battle: “Remove Nitish and save Bihar. Remove Modi and save India,” he proclaimed grandly. What a clarion call.
On the weekend, he was a little more subdued, if Lalu Prasad can ever be described so. He was up against Arnab Goswami. And while he did not get the better of the TV anchor, he managed to force Goswami to speak Hindi, putting him at a decided disadvantage. The wonderful thing about Prasad is that he is always grand — even when he is diminished, even when he was jailed. His bravado makes for good television, illusory as it might be. And so, when he declared, “I will also one day become PM,” it was completely in character (Frankly Speaking, Times Now).
Rahul Gandhi also seems to live in his own world of “empowerment” and “change” but he is growing more comfortable in front of the camera — at least when he is not giving a televised interview. So, on Monday, we watched him and Jairam Ramesh in a jugalbandi where they played question and answer at a public meeting. They were laughing, clearly enjoying themselves. On Tuesday, Gandhi was seen delivering a rousing speech in Guwahati (yes, Narendra Modi had already been there, done that). While Modi’s campaign speeches go out live on all news channels, Gandhi was seen and heard on channels like Times Now, Headlines Today, Zee News and of course that old faithful, DD News, but that’s about it.
After listening to the two top political leaders of the country, you can plainly see the difference. While Modi speaks of what he will do for the country in 60 months — after the mandatory reference to what he has done in Gujarat — Gandhi extols the achievements of the UPA/ Congress during its time in office. He is living in the past, Modi in the future. Perhaps that is why Modi is leading the electoral race.
Have you noticed that political party spokespersons usually defend their respective outfits by attacking the opposition? No matter what they are asked. Take the BJP. Monday, Headlines Today had Sudhanshu Mittal in the studio to explain who was “funding the choppers” used by Modi. In reply, he waved the AAP’s list of donors and attacked the party. On Tuesday, NDTV continued…