RaGa Limits His Charm Offensive to Congress Workers - The New Indian Express

RaGa Limits His Charm Offensive to Congress Workers

Published: 14th January 2014 09:59 AM

Last Updated: 14th January 2014 09:59 AM

It was not exactly a secret that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was to land at the Cochin International Airport on Monday around 12.30 pm. Therefore it was with some sense of anticipation that the public watched the khadi-clad men and women who had gathered here by around 11.30 am. The anticipatory air, however, seemed limited to the passengers and those accompanying them.

Just about a dozen Congressmen and barely 4-5 Congresswomen at the venue till about 12 noon, reinforced by the arrival of KPCC president and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi along with AICC secretary V D Satheesan as also a few other Congress functionaries, including the local MP and the reception committee was just about complete.

Clearly missing at the airport was any effort by the Congressmen to convert it into an opportunity for Rahul to connect with the public. The counter-argument that security reasons prohibited a bigger show would remain an argument as other leaders with similar security concerns have seen them connect with the public with much more gusto. What could be seen was the regular security drill, complete with the dog squad and the bomb detection unit.

Even as most Congressmen waited outside and small team led by the Home Minister went inside the airport complex, it was generally believed that Rahul was coming by a chartered flight. Then, it panned out that he had hopped on a commercial carrier Indigo’s Delhi-Hyderabad-Kochi flight. If that was the young Gandhi scion’s effort to mix with the masses, aam admi style, what followed did not adhere to that script.

When Rahul, dressed in a white kurta and blue jeans, came out through the special exit alongside the airport building with his entourage including AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, a single line formation of Congress functionaries lined up as if to greet a foreign dignitary.

RaGa Belies Expectations

Rahul, shook hands with all present, exchanged pleasantries, complete with his dazzling smile. Surely, the Congressmen would want to broad-base these single person exchanges, bringing the masses into play.

Finally, as Rahul climbed into the front seat of an SUV that led a motorcade out of the tarmac, he began waving without lowering the window. But, by that time the few people who had been eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of him, out of curiosity if nothing else, had already passed from his line of vision.

 “For a man so young, the energy level he showed was quite disappointing. I wish he had walked towards the crowds or at least leaned out of the window,” said Johny K, who had come to see off his friend. 

An observation that was echoed by a Congressman: “I’ve never seen a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family unable to connect with the masses as is happening now.”

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