India Today - - LEISURE -

ON RAHUL GANDHI I can’t es­cape the feel­ing that Rahul’s un­crit­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion of his fam­ily’s record means he may not be learn­ing the right lessons from his­tory. I be­gin to see how So­nia views her role in pol­i­tics, not as the ac­tive, ac­tivist re­former who will clean out the Augean Sta­bles of cor­rup­tion and nepo­tism, but as some­one whose role is much sim­pler—to pre­serve her fam­ily’s legacy of sec­u­lar­ism un­til her son is ready to take up the reins of power, to in­ter­vene here and there on be­half of the poor, but not to chal­lenge the na­ture of the Congress po­lit­i­cal beast. If Modi made no se­cret of his dis­dain for for­eign­ers in that first meet­ing (in 2007), my next in­ter­view with him, some five years later, was very dif­fer­ent. This time he seemed keen to im­press, to make a case for his in­ter­na­tional re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion... He did his best to be charm­ing, to smile and demon­strate a lighter, hu­man side. I have to ad­mit to hav­ing found it equally un­set­tling. MAN­MO­HAN SINGH As soon as I saw the caller ID I knew I was in trou­ble... (Man­mo­han) Singh, I had writ­ten, was in dan­ger of go­ing down in his­tory as a fail­ure, as a silent, tragic fig­ure who prob­a­bly should have re­signed at the end of his first term. I knew this call meant trou­ble. ON PRIYANKA GANDHI With the moon above her, a shower of rose petals was caught in a cam­era’s flash as it fell across her; an im­age I can still pic­ture in my mind’s eye. Some­how, Priyanka sim­ply projects that in­de­fin­able star qual­ity that her stu­dious and earnest brother lacks.



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