Monday, February 8, 2010

Taking us for a Ride?

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.


  1. Hey forward it to Shiv Sena/MNS, u might get a party ticket next election.. kudos!!

  2. that was really a hard hitting one... so powerfully written...

  3. @Esha
    No point! The morons won't be reading it... after all its not in Marathi :P


    Thanks! Like it or hate it, this is the only way I know. Diplomacy is not my cup of tea.

    Nice to see you here. Do drop by often :)

  4. Very true. If Rahul Gandhi (or for that matter, any politician) is really interested in knowing the problems faced by the Mumbai junta, he should travel unaccompanied from Churchgate/Dadar to Virar/Borivali in the evening peak hours.

  5. Its quite sad to see Rahul Gandhi trying to gain popularity using this blind man's technique, but its all the more sad that many people are going to be fooled by this and claim 'Rahul Gandhi has tried to understand our problems. He is surely a great leader in the making.'

  6. I actually liked the fact that he took the trip and visited a few places in Mumbai (I do regret the inconveniences to the people). It is a show of power and a message to the Sena as to who is the real boss.

  7. I feel that it was such a harrasment for the local public and rightly agree with You that whatever may be... Want to taste Bombay then come all alone to the crowd and check out dude; i think his all leadership skills will be tested and sharped if not he's blunted himself..... This was just a political stunt and nothing else.

  8. Well said. These politicians, especially Rahul Gandhi is a publicity monger and I am amazed that he gets away with it. Are we that gullible or is the media so powerful?


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