New Delhi: Several questions that have been dogging the minds of Indians for some time have been answered now. Why did Rahul Gandhi vanish? Where is he hiding? How to find him? Why did Congress lose Loksabha elections? And such.
A few days ago, BBC sent out a request to Rahul Gandhi for an interview. That is when Rahul went missing. Dreading the prospect of having to face an interview, he went underground, which has been described variously by the Congress leaders as vacation, winding down, soul searching, meditation, chilling, rejuvenating, brain(?)storming, strategizing, etc. But the fact has been established – Rahul is hiding from BBC. ‘Was hiding’, one should say, because BBC finally found him. One of the Indian journalists who was part of the BBC team related the story in depth, as below.
Two weeks ago, BBC approached Rahul Gandhi through his office, asking for an interview on important matters. The very term ‘important matters’ sent shivers down his spine and he declined to participate. However, BBC doggedly continued their pursuit. When they called him up directly on his personal number, he first did not pick up the calls. Then he said they had reached a wrong number. Then he said he was a different Rahul Gandhi. Then he spoke in a lady’s voice and told BBC that Rahul was out of office.
When he tried the same trick many times, BBC told him that they knew he was lying because they could see him in the office as they too were there. Rahul claimed to have forgotten where he was and told BBC he would meet them in a while. That was the last any one saw or heard of him.
Having waited in Rahul’s office for several days, BBC, in a desperate bid, took the help of a veteran Congress leader and one-man expert committee on Rahul Gandhi affairs, Shankar Iyer Mani (name changed to protect identity). They learnt that come what may, Rahul meets a childhood friend at least once a week, to exchange comics.
Having stayed put for about a week near the friend’s house, and disguised as comics sellers, they enticed Rahul to talk to them, with a promise to give him one more comic book than his friend would. Rahul liked the idea and started talking. But when BBC brought up the topic of interview, he got the jitters and tried to run away. But the lure of comics brought him back. And what transpired between BBC and Rahul is as follows.
BBC : Sir, we desperately want to interview you sir, please.
Rahul : But I have not applied for any job with BBC. So why do you want to?
BBC : Not a job interview sir, but…but…an interview…we ask you questions and you answer.
Rahul : What do you mean? Is this an exam or what?
BBC : No sir. It is not an exam. There won’t be a question paper and we don’t publish the result. It is oral. You just have to answer a few questions.
Rahul : How many?
BBC : Maybe about two dozen of them.
Rahul : No way. I have not answered more than five questions at a time ever, even in exams, out of the given twenty. So I will answer five.
BBC : Ok sir…. but please sir, we will cut it down to twenty.
Rahul : Six.
BBC : Fifteen.
Rahul : Eight.
BBC : Ten
Rahul : Done.
BBC : Sir, we will start recording now. Are you ready sir?
Rahul : What do you mean? Why do you have to record it? Anyway one question down.
BBC : To show it on television sir.
Rahul : You mean I will be shown on TV?! Whoa!
BBC : Yes sir. Just like you came on TV some time ago, on Times Now.
Rahul : Oh No! No way am I going to do this interview. I am leaving.
(Saying this, Rahul bolted. BBC crew ran after him.)
BBC : Sir, Sir…it is not that. We are from BBC…not Times Now.
Rahul : Is Arnab Goswami around? Then I am going.
BBC : No sir. He is not there. He does not work for us. He does not work for anybody. In fact he does not work at all.
Rahul : You are right. He only plays games with people. But where is he?
BBC : Don’t worry sir, he is miles away. We won’t let him harm you. Can we start?
Rahul : Thanks. You can start. That was the second question. Eight left.
BBC : Why did you lose sir?
Rahul : Who said I lost? I always score the highest in all games. Ask my friends if you want. I am the top scorer in Temple Run. I have reached the highest level in Angry Birds. I scored a century in Book Cricket. I lose only in Tic-Tac-Toe.
BBC : Not that sir. Why did you lose in the Loksabha election?
Rahul : Oh! You mean the election. I did not lose. I won the election…..I think….that is what they told me. In fact Smriti Irani congratulated me. And so did many others.
BBC : Sorry sir, not you. Why did Congress lose the election?
Rahul : Oh okay…I too though about it. Quite a bit. I asked several people. And I found out the reason. It is because we did not get enough votes. Other candidates won. That is why we lost.
BBC : Then, why did you get lesser votes than others?
Rahul : It is my mistake. I lied to the people of India. I misled them. That is why they did not vote us.
BBC : Oh! So honest of you sir. What lie did you tell them?
Rahul : I kept telling them that there are six bills pending in the parliament, on important issues like women empowerment. In fact there were only four. That is the mistake I made. And the party had to pay for it.
BBC : But some say your family’s tight control on all affairs affected the party’s chances in the election. What do you think?
Rahul : That is not true. Ours is a great family. The Gandhi family. We all belong to the Gandhi family. Me, my sister, my mother, jijaji…all of us. Except our grandfather Jawaharlal. He was the only exception. I don’t know why he did not belong to our family. He belonged to the Nehru family. Our family is so great and so respected that Bapuji, the father of the nation himself adopted our family name and called himself Mohandas Gandhi. Anyway, you have two questions left.
BBC : Sir.but what about Robert Vadra that belongs to your family? Land deals.…?
Rahul : Sorry. I can’t answer that. Mummy has told me not to speak about jijaji, that too with strangers, even if they offer comic books. Last question!
BBC : Sir, some people say you are on vacation. When will you get back to work?
Rahul : Good question. Now that this interview is over, I have nothing to fear. I will immediately go back. Now, give me my comics.
BBC returned a happy team, for they could ultimately interview Rahul Gandhi. However, trouble started after that. After viewing the preview of the interview, and obviously embarrassed, the Congress said the interviewee was not Rahul at all. They accused BBC of using Rahul’s dummy in order to project Rahul as a dunce, at the behest of BJP, and demanded that the telecast of the interview be banned.
On the other hand, the Indian government felt the interview would show India and Indian politicians in poor light and sought to ban the telecast. BBC, first upset with a second ban on its program in just a couple of weeks, referred the matter to its own review committee. The committee was aghast at the content of the interview and readily supported the ban and decided not to air it in any part of the world.