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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Gourav Vallabh: A Congressman who became an unlikely social media star

That’s because it is the mantra he follows when he has to make an appearance at any television show. If the show runs for an hour, he spends six hours on research while preparing for it.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2019 12:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh.(Twitter: @GouravVallabh)
         

His renewed fame aside, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh says he keeps a frame of “6:1” on his desk.

That’s because it is the mantra he follows when he has to make an appearance at any television show. If the show runs for an hour, he spends six hours on research while preparing for it.

It is with the ease of knowledge that Vallabh cornered the BJP’s spokesperson Sambit Patra on a TV debate on the state of the Indian economy, asking him if he knew how many zeros are in 5 trillion. Patra’s tries at averting the question have landed a lot of views for the video, now viral by all standards, and accolades for Vallabh.

Even within the Congress party, there’s renewed respect for him. Vallabh, a professor at the Xavier School of Management (XLRI) in Jamshedpur, joined the party to honour what he had always told his students: To do what made them truly happy.

One day, in 2008 when a student asked him if he too was happy, the question set Vallabh thinking. He knew that he always wanted to be in politics to stand up for his ideological beliefs. But did not have the immediate resources to do so. He then worked on establishing himself, and in 2017, joined the Congress.

He was soon recruited as a media panellist by the party’s communications chief Randeep Singh Surjewala and started representing the party on TV debates and holding press conferences, mostly on weekends, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Vallabh says he did not join the party in search of any position or power.

“There was a strong ideological alignment about free, liberal, secular and intelligent values of our country, where reasoning, science, logic and development is a priority agenda,” he says.

Vallabh says he’s not too sure of the renewed fame as he’s not in the party in search of a position of power. “Politics, for me, is a medium to ensure that there’s increased awareness for these liberal values,” he says.

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 12:10 IST

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