Senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi said that it is much easier to talk policy in Kerala when compared to Uttar Pradesh in a live interaction on Friday. Rahul was speaking with historian Dipesh Chakrabarty and students of the University of Chicago.
During the interaction, Rahul was asked how different South India is from North India when it comes to politics and culture. He replied, “It is much easier to talk policy in Kerala. You go there and they say, ‘This is what we want. This is what you need to do. Thank you very much’. It is simple, straightforward, and extremely solid political mobilisation at the grassroots level. The system responds very quickly.”
Whereas things are quite different in UP, the Congress leader said. “In UP, there is a caste wall. There is a complete break between communities and no conversation between them. There are much more complex negotiations and it is much harder to get things done. Many more fights to handle, but the potential is huge. When you get it going, it is massive,” he had added.
During the conversation, Rahul also spoke about his love for his constituency Wayanad in Kerala. “I just love going to my constituency. It is not a political one, but I just love it. When I go there, I feel happy. I feel like I have come home. There is a mutual affection. They are just great,” he said.
In his interaction with Chakrabarty, Rahul also spoke about the sacrifices of his family members. “I am proud that my grandmother and father were killed for standing and defending something. It helps me understand them and something that helps me understand my place and what I should be doing,” he said.
Rahul also spoke about how social media trolls have has guided him. “As other ideas attack me, it helps me refine myself. Trolls sharpen my sense of what I have to do. They are almost like a guide to me; they tell me where I have to go and what I’ve to stand for. It’s an evolution,” he said.
When asked about dynastic politics, Rahul said it has been nearly 30 years since someone from the Gandhi family became the Prime Minister. “It is interesting to me because the last time a member of my family was a Prime Minister was 30 plus years ago,” he said. His father Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister from 1984-89. His grandmother Indira Gandhi and his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru were also former Prime Ministers of the country. Since Rajiv, nobody from the Gandhi family has held the post.
While interacting with one of the students, Rahul paused for a second, chuckled and said, “By the way, I think there is an earthquake going on. My room is shaking.” On Friday night, a major earthquake jolted northern India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Rahul remained calm despite the calamity and continued with the live session.