Is Rahul Gandhi a changed man now? Has the Bharat Jodo Yatra helped turn his image around? At a time when the Congress is desperately hoping that the cross-country march will transform people’s perception of the leader and contribute to the party’s revival, the senior Congress leader turned philosophical on Monday and said “he had let go of Rahul Gandhi many years ago”.
When asked about his learnings from the Yatra at a press conference, Gandhi said, “Rahul Gandhi ko maine bohot saalon pehle chhod diya. Rahul Gandhi aapke dimag main hai, mere dimag main hai hi nahin. (I let go of Rahul Gandhi years ago. Rahul Gandhi is in your mind, not mine). Try and understand, this is our country’s philosophy.”
His remarks have since been interpreted differently by various leaders. While some saw philosophical undertones in his remarks, others called him “a changed man”.
“He is not impatient anymore. He is not angry anymore,” a leader said. Rahul has also in the past spoken about getting irritated quickly. “I used to get irritated in one or two hours. Now, I don’t get irritated even after eight hours. It doesn’t matter even if somebody pushes me or pulls me from behind.”
About the BJP’s personal attacks on him, Rahul said he considered the barbs “his guru and a compass which give him direction”.
“The BJP has spent crores of rupees to sully my image. And they have created an image of me. People think it is damaging for me but actually, it is beneficial for me. Because the truth is with me. And truth cannot be hidden. The more money they spent to sully my image, the more strength it is giving me…they are giving me that much manoeuvrability because truth cannot be hidden or suppressed,” the Congress leader said.
Rahul’s remarks also came days after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma triggered a controversy by saying that the Congress leader’s face was turning into that of Saddam Hussien.
“As far as personal attacks against me are concerned, they happen when an individual takes a political position. If you are fighting against big forces. there will be personal attacks. If you are not fighting against any force and you are just floating around there will be no personal attacks. So, when I am attacked personally, I know I am moving in the right direction. In a way these personal attacks…the money that the BJP spends to sully my image…all that is my guru which shows that I need to go in a certain direction and not in any other direction,” he said.
Rahul added, “Because the fight is to deeply understand the thought process of those who are standing against you. Slowly, I have started understanding deeply the thought process of the BJP and the RSS. So, I am moving forward in this battle and everything is fine if I am moving forward.”
Asked about the organisational changes that he wants to put in place, he said he was not thinking about anything other than completing the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“The yatra was aimed at sending a particular message across to the country. I am not thinking about anything other than completing this yatra and listening to the people of India … That’s all I am doing, nothing else. I am not thinking about Congress, I am not thinking about organisation, I am not thinking about election, I am not thinking about anything, this is in my mind, this is tapasya (penance) to stand up for the idea of India that is being attacked and destroyed,” he said.