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Review: Rahul

The accessible story of an inaccessible character in Indian politics

books Updated: Mar 09, 2012 19:17 IST

Rahul

Jatin Gandhi and Veenu Sandhu

Penguin Viking

Rs 499 pp 267

It’s tempting to read this book to find out why Rahul Gandhi went terribly wrong in the UP elections. But actually, this ‘authoritative (not authorised) biography’, provides us with clues aplenty as to why the Congress debacle in UP is not going to make Rahul turn the ‘at work’ bulb off. At least not yet. Take Priyanka Gandhi’s 2009 quote that authors Jatin Gandhi (no relation to Rahul) and Veenu Sandhu use early on in the book:

“The other thing that I think is great about him as a politician is that he doesn’t have this thing that he absolutely has to succeed every time. And, he’s very good with things in which, perhaps, in the short term, he won’t succeed but he can see that there is a long-term success. He will work through that short-term failure.”

This book is full of such useful background that the reader can use to paint his own picture about the Congressman.

The husband-wife team of Gandhi and Sandhu, both journalists, don’t pretend to bring to the pages new facts and facets about Rahul’s life. What they do is provide a very readable narrative of the man’s political life (a bit of personal life in the chapter ‘The Shaping of the Personality’) till date.

And unlike most of the books on politicians — or public personalities, for that matter — Rahul isn’t a hagiographic gush-fest or apologia. It’s an accessible story of an inaccessible character in contemporary Indian politics.

Sunil Rai is a Delhi-based writer