Genre: Current Affairs
A few days back, Rahul Gandhi made it to the headlines and was showered with generous dose of praise for taking the decision to chuck his chopper and travel from Andheri to Ghatkopar in Mumbai by local train. (Click here for video). The print and electronic media went gaga over Rahulbaba’s “noble gesture” to “connect with the common man of Mumbai” and “empathize with them”.
When politicians board local trains, their aim is not to gain empathy. It is to gain publicity. In this particular instance, Rahul Gandhi stood in line for 15 minutes to buy a ticket for himself, thereby giving the media enough time to take his photographs and project him as an "ideal law-abiding citizen" but what about his entire huge entourage that boarded the train ticketless? One might think he purchased tickets for everyone, but did he even know in the first place how many security personnel and "party workers" and "followers" were with him in the entourage? I doubt. Another point – he travelled from Andheri to Dadar in Second Class coach but for the Dadar-Ghatkopar journey, got into a First Class coach! So, which ticket did he actually buy? If he indeed had a First Class ticket, why did he hop into a Second Class coach first? And, if he bought a symbolic Second Class ticket, he should be fined for ticketless travel between Dadar and Ghatkopar!
If Rahul indeed wanted to get a taste of life of Mumbai’s common man, why did the Police hurriedly ask all the hawkers at Dadar and Ghatkopar station to vacate the place and get the platform swept and cleaned the moment they came to know of Rahulbaba’s arrival? Why was the guard of the train asked to halt longer than usual at Ghatkopar to allow Rahulbaba to get off comfortably? Why was the Kalyan Fast local diverted to Platform 1 at Ghatkopar just so that Rahulbaba need not climb the bridge? Dude, by doing all this tamasha, you are not winning any empathy. All you are doing is inconvenience a thousand other passengers. Stop the farce.
If there was a really law abiding Ticket Checker on that train or at Dadar station, he should have dared to stop the VIP gang and fine the ticketless ones with equal gusto and enthusiasm that they show daily while nabbing the commoners who might have forgotten to buy ticket in a hurry or not realised that his/her monthly season ticket has expired a day back. But no, this is India, where some people are more equal than others.