Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi met nearly a dozen journalists on Saturday. The invitees were carefully selected, with most of them active on the Congress beat or influential in their organisations.
The Gandhi scion, according to these journalists, spoke to them for nearly an hour. One journalist complained that Rahul was less interested in taking their questions and more on impressing upon them, “the idea of India and the Congress party’s crucial place in that”.
Rahul, it seems, waxed eloquent on the subject of what he though the idea of India is and should be – that is a pluralist, secular India. But he had little time for journalist’s questions on the success of the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal or Narendra Modi.
Some of the journalists were, perhaps, only too pleased to be seen complaining, basking in the glory of being among the chosen few to have been invited by Rahul Gandhi.
But other old faithfuls ended up exasperated. They thought that their time was wasted, particularly as the briefing was totally off the record.
The older of the lot who have kept faith with the Congress are already feeling cheated with the party and its leadership and wondering if they would be able to keep their jobs in the eventuality of a regime change in the next election.
A senior journalist said some of them had even bought into Congress propaganda about victory in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh in the assembly elections and a close fight in Rajasthan thanks to the government’s social schemes.
“There is widespread disenchantment with the Congress and its leadership among the faithful. The party leaders have not only failed to deliver but have not been entirely honest with their well wishers within the journalist community,” said a veteran.