Rahul Gandhi, the reticent Congress party leader who has never before given a sit-down television interview, on Monday faced one of India’s most dogged T.V. journalists: Arnab Goswami of Times Now. The conversation touched on corruption, riots, and his record as a politician but also dwelt on Mr. Gandhi’s love of process and desire to change systems, leaving a rather flat feeling about the encounter
Those who tuned into Mr. Gandhi’s much-anticipated first interview expecting to hear bold positions on controversial issues or straight responses to tricky questions, probably came away disappointed.
In long, often discursive responses, Mr. Gandhi focused on processes and systematic changes, but didn’t take on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi, or answer pointed questions about his party’s backing for the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.
He didn’t offer a clear rallying cry for his supporters and his Congress Party.
In the end, a riled up Mr. Gandhi hit out at those he said were interested in “superficial” issues rather than what he said is the core problem. “You haven’t asked me one question about how we will build this country or how we will empower our youngsters,” he complained.
“Attack me all you want,” he said. “Keep throwing stones at us, but I’m not going to fight a superficial battle. I’m going to take on the system.”
Mr. Gandhi wanted to talk about what he called fundamental questions, he said: how power can be less concentrated, how we pick candidates and how we make policies.
“The system is closed. You’re not going to change that without opening the system. That is going to take processes,” he said. He didn’t say much however, about what the processes should be or how he would drive the political change that he says he wants.