After Rahul Gandhi addressed the students of Mount Carmel in Bengaluru, the hashtag #RahulStumped was trending. Television channels discussed and debated how the Congress vice-president was ‘embarrassed’ by the students.
However, two days after the incident, an open letter by a student of the college has gone viral, which said the reactions to the ‘measly leaked clip” have left Mount Carmel students “bewildered and almost apologetic to Gandhi”.
Elixir Nahar, a final-year student of Journalism, Economics and Political Science at Mount Carmel, wrote that most news reports about the event -- with headlines such as “Rahul Gandhi stumped by Mount Carmel students” -- were misleading and failed to capture the differing voices in the audience.
In her 1,437-word long post titled “An Open Letter to #RahulStumped Enthusiasts”, Nahar wrote that it was only one example of what Gandhi “must be feeling on a regular basis, thanks to misrepresentation by the media”.
On Wednesday, addressing a 2,000-strong gathering of students at the college, Gandhi had asked : “Is Swacch Bharat working?” The girls roared back with a mix of ‘yes’ and ‘no’. He repeated the question and the response was similar. “How about Make in India? Do you think it’s working?” he asked, only getting another round of mixed response.
Nahar also wrote that Gandhi had tailored his speech to suit “our audience of young women”.
He spoke about societal norms: What is ‘pretty’, what is ‘skinny’, how irrelevant these terms are to him, and why women are so important in his life - his grandmother, mother, and sister. He was humourous, and he struck a chord with the audience right from the start, before jumping into the nitty gritty.
“What touched most of the audience was Mr. Gandhi’s emphasis on ‘starting a conversation’ about all the issues. He informed us about how his government was being shunned out of Parliament, to the extent of their mic being turned off while they are speaking, despite them being the Opposition and still having a foothold in there. He brought us up to speed on how the central government has not once been open to starting a conversation with them, about anything under the sun that concerns the citizens. He drew up examples from the past, when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in office, and how he would pick up the phone and directly call the Opposition just to have a conversation.”
-- Read the full post HERE
Image: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi interacts with the students of Mount Carmel ahead of his discussion. Photograph: PTI