‘No more Pappu, people see Rahul Gandhi as more serious politician now’: Experts


Rahul Gandhi completed the 4,000 km Bharat Jodo Yatra on Monday by hoisting the national flag in Srinagar, Jammu, and Kashmir. During the Yatra, the Congress’s social media was very active, covering different aspects of Rahul Gandhi while he was interacting with the general public. Many political experts point out that the Yatra was more about Rahul Gandhi’s image makeover and to portray him as a more serious politician.

“… The beard has given him a certain degree of seriousness. He has arrived as a man, he is no longer Indira Gandhi’s grandson, but Rajiv Gandhi‘s son. He is now Rahul Gandhi, the man. That is a very critical change in how people perceive him today,” Prahlad Kakkar, an advertising industry veteran, told the news agency PTI.

Political pundits believe that Rahul Gandhi is no more a reluctant, part-time politician, especially after the Yatra, people are perceiving him as a more mature politician. They also point out the role of his beard, which according to them became a symbol of his changed image.

“As a symbol, it stands for… the new wisdom of age, the hard labour of the prince, the nation-before-self belief and the tough never-say-die spirit,” Rohit Ohri, CEO of media firm FCB Group India told news agency PTI.

Political opponents of Congress and Rahul Gandhi used to call him “Pappu” due to some of his “non-serious, taken-out-of-context statements”. The intensity of the Bharat Jodo Yatra facilitated Gandhi to end that image, they say.

“People did not think Rahul Gandhi had the stamina and bandwidth to see the yatra through. So, because he has had it easy, he has inherited it and not earned it, this Bharat Jodo Yatra was very important for his image makeover as finally, he had to earn his stripes,” Kakkar added.

The step by Rahul Gandhi also confirms the fact that there is no shortcut to votes and Indian voters will not appreciate or consider your candidature, unless you hit the road, the experts argued.

Kakkar called Gandhi’s look “coming-of-age”, saying he has gone from a boy to a man by sporting a beard. “The mustache and the beard have always been revered as an arrival of manhood in our country…”

“Because of the avatar he has taken up, the BJP is trying to counter his dialogue. They would not have attempted it earlier because they had dismissed him as a Pappu. The fact is that if your enemy regards you as a serious contender then you have achieved 90 per cent of what you had gone out to achieve,” he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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