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Mother and son study in contrasts

india Updated: Apr 16, 2011 15:31 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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If Left-bashing and depth of speech were the parameters to compare the two Gandhis — Sonia and Rahul — the latter seems to have a long way to go before attaining the heights of his mother.

Rahul Gandhi had arrived in his trademark white kurta-pyjamas and a pair of sports shoes on Thursday. A cheerful smile lit up his face as he mingled freely with the Youth Congress activists waiting near the dais. The dashing arrival of the Gandhi scion was in stark contrast to the much calmer avatar of his mother, who appeared in a cotton sari with blue and white stripes and trained sharper and more venomous barbs at the CPI(M) and the ruling Left Front.

In keeping with his image of being the youth icon of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi drew huge crowds, with an overwhelming number of students and youth. In contrast, scores of people across all ages and walks of life thronged the venue of the UPA chairperson’s rally in the same district of Jalpaiguri.

Again, while Sonia Gandhi lambasted the Left in her high-pitched speech, Rahul Gandhi struck a more polite yet aggressive note, as he tried to make the gathering realise how the power of youth was key to shaping the country’s future. While she sought to dwell on the state and poll-oriented issues, her sin gad concentrated on winning young hearts.

However, neither of the Gandhis could rival the lung power and the fiery conduct of Mamata Banerjee, their poll ally and the Trinamool Congress chief, who sends the crowd into dizzy raptures and literally scream and dance to her speech.

If Rahul Gandhi made no mention of Mamata Banerjee’s name during his day-long tour, Sonia Gandhi not only hailed high the spirit of their alliance with the Trinamool, but also termed Banerjee as one of the prime figures of UPA 2 government, a stand that made the Trinamool supporters cheer with claps and slogans.

Following in the footsteps of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, both Gandhis after finishing their speech walked straight towards the audience. An enthusiastic Rahul Gandhi even climbed over the bamboo barricade to reach out to the audience and
shook hands.