Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday faced some embarrassing moments when a large section of his student audience at a women's college responded in resonating 'yes' to his poser whether they thought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious 'Swachh Bharat' and 'Make In India' campaigns were working.
During an interaction with students of Mount Carmel college, a leading women's college here, the Congress vice president took an instant poll asking the young audience about the twin flagship programmes while slamming the Modi government
Gandhi asked the students whether 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' ('Clean India Mission') was working, to which most replied in a resounding 'yes'.
It didn’t end here as the Congress member of Parliament again asked the students if they thought the 'Make in India' programme was really working and the students again gave the same reply, making the leader apparently uncomfortable.
Gandhi hastened to tell the audience that he differed with them.
"You might see it I don't," said Gandhi, who sported a grey T shirt, adding," Anyway, I don't clearly see a vision that the Bharatiya Janata Party is projecting".
The interaction was the first in the series of Gandhi's outreach to the students across the campuses in the country.
Rahul later talking to media persons said the nature of the response of the students to his questions were not clear.
"Actually it was not clear. On 'Swachh Bharat', half the room said nothing had happened and some said something had happened. On 'Make in India', I think more people said not much had happened, some said things have happened".
The kind of response by the students to Rahul's poser led the BJP to say his "disconnect" with the ground was "exposed" and shown through the mirror by the youths of the country.
"When asked about Swachh Bharaat Abhiyan and Make in India, the youths of this country said that these concepts are moving ahead and Rahul was shocked. Why was he shocked? Because of the very fact that he has a great disconnect, he does not know the vibrations on the ground. Leave aside the country, he cannot lead the youths of the country," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
He said Rahul has "no capacity" to lead even the youths not to speak of the country. "His ignorance was snubbed by the young students," he said.
BJP Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said Gandhi's interaction with students at Bengaluru should caution Congress Party and leadership that Indian youth is not willing to accept "obstructionist and negative" agenda of Congress.
"The snap poll done by RG is a good indicator that PM Modi's initiative like 'Swachh Bharat', 'Make in India' and others have strong support of the youth. It was quite heartening to learn that Indian youth had straight questions on why GST and other reforms are being blocked.
"We hope RG and Congress would learn from the interaction that Indian Youth want Parliament to function and therefore they would not disturb the winter session," he said.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, however, said Gandhi answered questions unlike Prime Minister Modi and this is the way for the country's leader to interact.
"This is the way, the leader of the country should interact with the young and the countrymen everywhere -- sometimes disagreeing with them, sometimes agreeing with them and answering their basic inquisitiveness on how India should look in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. Rahul ji has answered, what no other political leader has done.
On Rahul's remarks at Bangalore, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "I will give him a gentle unsolicited advice. Please don't take recourse on patent lies."
He told Rahul, "You talk about intolerance. Please be tolerant towards Narendra Modi and BJP, the National Democratic Alliance government for the massive majority that people of India have given to us. We are doing well. Narendra Modiji is being respected world over. Our performance is there and will improve further."
He said that even the young audience in Bangalore apparently contradicted what he was trying to say about our government.
"Who will govern India, people have decided and please be tolerant towards people of India," he said.
Taking a jibe at Gandhi, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said Rahul has been exposed during his interaction with youth. If he draws constructive lessons from it, then it will be good for the Congress as well as the country, Sharma said.
"His image has become that of a leader against development and youth. People have given him a chance to correct it. The Italian glasses through which he looks at the country were removed by the students," he said, mocking the Congress vice president.
On the one hand Gandhi speaks about intolerance and corruption and on the other he shares dais with hate speech accused Imran Masood and supports likes of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad, Sharma said, accusing him of having hypocrisy.