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What we know

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rahul Gandhi, the youngest member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to enter active politics, turns 40 today. And on this occasion Rashmi Hemrajani speaks to influential business personalities about one of India’s youngest MPs (Member of Parliament), who is not just a political icon but an inspiration for those youngsters who want to venture into politics

 What we know
He is handsome, caring, compassionate, a leader and the country’s most eligible bachelor — Rahul Gandhi, politician and member of the Parliament of India, represents the Amethi constituency. In 2004, he announced his entry into politics by, standing for his father’s former constituency of Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) in the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of Parliament.
But what many are unaware of…
is Rahul’s corporate career. After completing his graduation, he worked with management guru, Michael Porter's Management consulting firm, Monitor Group, a US based company, for three years. His colleagues at the firm had no idea who they were working with— as he was using an assumed name (Raul Vinci). He returned to India in late 2002 to run an engineering and technology outsourcing firm in Mumbai.
Tushar Sethi, Director, Institute of Indian Contemporary Art (ICIA) says,“The country needs politicians like him, who can bring about positive changes in the system. He has been doing great work. But I don’t take him as an icon simply because I am not interested in politics. Rahul Gandhi has the demeanour of a great leader, his mannerisms and strategies are very effective. Besides this of course is the fact that he hails from the most respectable political family of the country.”
Rommil Meghani, CEO, Paypoint India.com, an internet business, says, “While Rahul’s bold actions – such as taking a local train in Mumbai – may capture public imagination, what is less known is his commitment to accelerate crucial national initiatives related to the upliftment of the underprivileged and greater spread of economic wealth. His priorities highlight the significance of rural economic development for India’s holistic growth. Moreover, his conduct conveys an unscripted genuineness, which goes a long way in promoting cleaner and more responsible politics in India. Even outside of politics, Rahul has inspired young people to think of different initiatives to enable greater number of people to participate in India’s growth. We too at my company are inspired by Rahul and have created a platform which facilitates financial inclusion and significantly aids rural development programs.”
Ms. Faiza Seth, CEO and Co-Founder, Casa Forma, a luxury property development firm, says,“I think Rahul Gandhi is one of the most loved and respected politician. The work he has done for the underprivileged is truly remarkable and inspiring. I admire his quality of taking the hard decision and getting into politics when he could easier take up a job or work in the corporate sector. He has made India a better place. For me, I take interest in politics but lack the vigiour required for the profession. However I try to make a difference by doing charity work.”
A Gandhi moment
Memorable visit to Mumbai in February 2010 Earlier this year, in February 2010, when Rahul Gandhi visited Mumbai he took everyone, including his security, Mumbaikars and Shiv Sena activists by surprise.
 It may be recalled that the Sena had warned Gandhi not to visit Mumbai after he made certain remarks on the ‘Marathi v/s migrants in Mumbai’ issue. They promised protests and black flag demonstrations would welcome the Congress youth leader in Mumbai.
But Gandhi played a masterstroke by abandoning his original travel plan of taking a helicopter from Andheri to Ghatkopar. Instead he stopped at an ATM machine to withdraw money and then headed straight to Andheri station from where he boarded a first class compartment of a Mumbai local! He then got off at Dadar station, changed trains and travelled to Ghatkopar. Though this left his security guards, the Mumbai police and even certain political activists in a tizzy, Mumbai and its people were more than impressed.
In fact Gandhi is said to have left more than a few young women screaming in his wake. But who can blame them? After all it isn’t everyday that India’s most eligible bachelor is seen on your Mumbai local, is it? 
Fact File and Career Highlights
“There is a work my father had started, a dream he had dreamt. I come to you today saying allow me to turn that dream into reality.”
—Rahul Gandhi addressing the public in Amethi for his 2004 election campaign.
Rahul Gandhi’s first Lok Sabha political campaign in the Amethi constituency in 2004, was directed by his younger sister and only sibling Priyanka Gandhi Vadhera.
In 2004, Rahul Gandhi with his sister Priyanka, also travelled to Pakistan to watch a goodwill match between India-Pakistan as this was the first cricket series between the countries in 14 years. 
Rahul Gandhi was appointed a general secretary of the All India Congress Committee on 24 September 2007 in a reshuffle of the party secretariat. In the same reshuffle, he was also given charge of the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India.
In his second Lok Sabha elections in 2009, he retained his Amethi constituency by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 333,000 votes. During these elections he also spoke at 125 rallies across the country in six weeks.
On May 25, 2010 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a press conference in Delhi is said to have acknowledged Rahul Gandhi’s PM-in-waiting status, when he said that he was ready to step aside for the young leader whenever the Congress party decided in favour of a change in leadership. 
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