Ruchira is the Social Media Editor for IBNLive, simply put, one of the few employees who actually gets paid for being on Facebook and Twitter all day long. Ruchira manages the social media outreach for the channel and maybe the person responsible for your tweet going on air. Ruchira feels strongly about women and child rights issues. She has the second-biggest on-desk library at IBNLive and actively lends out books, only to pester borrowers with book review requests. She loves watching cricket and reading political histories. A Rahul Dravid fan, she is coming to terms with her ever growing love for Bollywood songs. Besides being a news and cricket junkie, she indulges greatly in food and sports.
When Rahul Gandhi first appeared on India's political scene, he was projected as the new-age neta, the politician that we never had. There was and there still is a constant buzz as to how this 'youth' leader will change the way politics is perceived in our country. I was looking for a politician who made me be believe that politics isn't something that one needs to run away from.
But somehow, and I speak for myself alone, Rahul failed to translate this projection into reality.
Past few days we have seen many lengthy articles and analyses on the two big 'sons' of Indian politics. With all kind of similarities and differences that Rahul and Akhilesh possess. Truth is, and I must admit it, that until this election I had very little knowledge as to who is Akhilesh Yadav. I knew he is Mulayam Singh Yadav's son, sadly, that was the only "identity" he had in my mind.
It's a shame, I admit, specially after studying politics for 5 years (almost!).
The point I am trying to make is that Rahul Gandhi was looked upon as someone who will prove himself to be a mass leader, or as some believe a 'youth' leader. He was supposed to be a magnetic force that was drawing crowds, because he was one of them. But there was a little something that was missing.
The fact that we had been looking for a reason to call him a mass leader is self-explanatory. A leader shines, he is visible in a crowd, he is heard in a noise. And Rahul unfortunately, despite being all that, just lacked that one quality. Difficult to point out what but he failed to have a lasting impact. The kind of impact that probably Omar Abdullah had when he made that speech in Parliament in 2008 during his trust vote. Or the kind of 'let-the-work-do-the-talking' attitude that Sachin Pilot has. And it would be unfair to compare Rahul with anyone else but his contemporaries.
Akhilesh, on the other hand, inspite of being invisible on the national political sphere, comes across sorted. He seemed focussed, he had a plan and followed it too. And the result is out in front of all of us.
While addressing the press, he had short, crisp yet all apt answers to give. Without any use of big political words, without sounding too excited, he calmly answered all the media questions and exclamations. He even played his party's victory down, Akhilesh said, "Earlier we were losing and others were celebrating. Now we are winning and others are not. This is how politics is." He had a certain Dhoni-like demeanour. He smiled, spoke his mind, and made his point without having to shout from the rooftops.
Persona of a leader, a sorted mind, a casual yet dignified response to a resounding victory.
Many have been saying that Akhilesh is responsible for bringing Samajwadi Party back on the political map. True, as it appears to be, but this is just the first step. What lies ahead is the real test. Will Akhilesh be able to sustain the air he has created? Will he be able to prove himself in practicality?
Because, after all, politics is a lot more than just a promising speech and a politician has to be a lot more than just an articulate speaker. Both Rahul and Akhilesh have made promising speeches but time remains litmus to what lies ahead in their political careers. For now, Akhilesh seems to be a little ahead of Rahul. But one election cannot determine what a politician's career is going to be.
We are yet to see if Akhilesh will be able to translate his dignity in India's sphere of politics. Because in politics, campaigning and really doing the work are two very different ball games.