Can I speak to Rahul Gandhi

International - Little enthusiasm for the new Gandhi

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The great-grandfather was Prime Minister, the grandmother ruled the country, the father too. Now Rahul Gandhi could take power. But the offspring from India's perhaps most famous politician dynasty is showing off. Success would be questionable anyway.

Author: Karin Wenger, New Delhi

Lodhi Hotel, New Delhi. Every evening the rich and famous of the capital meet in the weight room of the luxury hotel. Among them: Rahul Gandhi, 43 years old, handsome, potential Prime Minister of India.

With the towel around his neck, Rahul lifts weights with short breaths. His bodyguard sits on the sofa next to the pool and protects him from the world outside the hotel walls. The politician enters here primarily to advertise his party.

Wooden and ingratiating

But it seems wooden and ingratiating when Gandhi promises to fight poverty and injustice and when he praises social programs and subsidies. In fact, his Congress party has invested huge sums in populist programs like this since 2004. At the same time, however, inflation rose, economic growth shrank by more than half, and one corruption scandal followed another.

The 81-year-old Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to lead the country with a population of 1.2 billion out of the crisis. Anyway, he was just a placeholder. Sonia Gandhi, Rahul's mother and leader of the Congress Party, had put the economist Singh into office. As a native Italian, she did not want to become Prime Minister herself and her son Rahul was still too young for the office.

The 43-year-old Rahul actually never wanted to go into politics. He studied at Harvard and Cambridge, worked as a management consultant in London and founded his own IT consultancy in the economic metropolis of Mumbai in 2002.

Politics as a family heritage

For him politics is not a vocation, but a family heritage. Rahul's father Rajiv, his grandmother Indira and his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru were all prime ministers of the country. When Rahul Gandhi was apparently reluctant to run for election in his mother’s constituency in 2004, it did not surprise anyone. When he was named vice president at the party congress a year ago, neither did he. This left a clear view of the Prime Minister's office.

Since then, Rahul Gandhi has been drinking tea tirelessly across the country with the underprivileged, farmers and untouchables. Accompanied by television teams, in traditional clothing and with a stubble, he and farmers haul heavy buckets - always in the service of his congress party.

In spite of this, almost all of them were lost in the regional elections last year. In the capital, Delhi, where the Congress Party has ruled for 15 years, it was defeated by the young Aam Aadmi party - the party of the common man. This promised to fight corruption and thus attracted many young voters.

The time of the party dynasties is over, says the 27-year-old student and Aam Aadmi voter Mohammad Khan. «Rahul Gandhi's party has ruled the country long enough. The corruption during this time was incredible, ”sums up Khan. “So I hope that the Aam Aadmi party will win the parliamentary elections. Your boss should be the new prime minister, not Rahul Gandhi. "

In fact, the Aam Aadmi party is digging up Ghandi's Congress Party, and the large Hindu nationalist opposition party BJP will probably benefit, as polls on the upcoming parliamentary elections show.

Words and reality

Gandhi himself reacted with self-flagellation to the previous defeats of his party. "We have to do more than just talk about good governance," he said recently. "We have to give the man on the street more power and break with political traditions."

If he is serious, Gandhi should not actually be nominated as a candidate for the office of prime minister. If he does, he continues the long tradition of the family dynasty. That will hardly help his party to an election victory.

(krua; zila)

Gandhi family of politicians

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Rahul Gandhi's ancestors have been directing the fortunes of India since 1947 - paid at a high price. His great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was the country's first premier and witnessed the assassination of his unrelated mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Further attacks followed: Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi was killed, as was his grandson Rajiv.

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  • Commentary by B. Kerzenmacher, Frauenfeld
    Except for Nehru, none of these people brought India particularly good luck. Indira was a tyrant, her sons were not exactly a hope for the future. The Congress Party is perhaps the lesser evil to the BJP in view of its corruption, but here the typical problem of a two-party system becomes apparent, one party is corrupt, the other is corrupt and racist.
    Agree agree to the comment

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