Mumbai: Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to Singapore saw the young leader being bombarded with some of the most unwelcome questions from the audience.
Speaking at the seminar, India at 70, the young leader from the Gandhi clan was asked about the contributions of his family to India's economy.
A video which has been widely shared on social media saw PK Basu, who said he authored the book ‘Asia Reborn’ ask, "Why is it that, when your family ruled the country, India's per capita income grew slower than the world average, but since your family relinquished the PM-ship, India's per capita income has grown much substantially faster than the world average?"
Basu is a teacher of economic history.
The video shows Rahul quickly countering, “And what is your hypothesis?"
The back and forth continued with Basu retorting, "I asked you the question. I'm here to ask the question... My hypothesis is in my book. Please read the book."
Audience gave the round to Basu with laughter and claps but Rahul, despite the moderator asking if he wanted to ignore the question commented, “You are giving a helluva lot of power to one family."
Soon afterwards the 47-year-old newly elected Congress president delivered his powerful argument asking whether Basu is saying that Rahul had no role in Indian politics from 2004 to today.
“You are saying that? Make up your mind. I either have a role or I don't, you can't give me both options," he said which was followed by a round of applause from the audience.
The Congress president added, “Now you notice something else... Mr Narendra Modi would never do that. You would never have the ability to say in front of Modiji what you said to me. And I am absolutely blazingly proud of that.”
Rahul went on to add later that the exchange highlighted exactly the kind of polarisation he was concerned about.
"Anybody in this room who thinks that the Congress is not party to that success, anybody who thinks that gaining Independence was not part of that success, that one man, one vote which the RSS opposed, was not part of that success, anybody who thinks that Green revolution was not part of that success... anybody who thinks that the telecom was not part of that success.. anybody who thinks that liberalisation was not part of that success... needs to write a new book," he said in the video which has been tweeted by Congress.
Congress claimed and tweeted, "With political discourse hitting new lows everyday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi shows how to gracefully handle detractors and call their bluff."
Their tweet soon met with resistance from BJP, where using the hashtag #WhenYouAreRahul, BJP's Amit Malviya posted: "Strange to see Rahul Gandhi obfuscating and avoiding direct response to Prof Basu's question. Also what does Rahul Gandhi have to do with UPA government between 2004-14 unless he is admitting that Dr Singh was a titular head and the Gandhis were running the show. #WhenYouAreRahul".
With political discourse hitting new lows everyday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi shows how to gracefully handle detractors and call their bluff. #RGinSingapore #IndiaAt70 pic.twitter.com/OnTJz0kzUx— Congress (@INCIndia) March 8, 2018