Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday denounced former United States President Barack Obama’s remark that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was like a student who was eager to impress but lacked the aptitude to master a subject, ANI reported.
Excerpts of Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land, were mentioned in Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s review of the book in The New York Times. The memoir talks about political leaders from across the world, including Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
On Gandhi, the former President wrote that the Congress leader has “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject”.
Raut questioned Obama’s knowledge and said that a foreign politician cannot give such opinions on Indian political leaders. “The subsequent domestic political discourse on Obama’s remark on the Congress leader is distasteful,” he added. “We won’t say ‘Trump is mad’. How much does Obama know about this nation?”
After Obama’s comments about Gandhi were highlighted by several reports, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “May I humbly remind certain overzealous friends of the media running a sponsored agenda that we don’t comment on individual’s views in a book. In the past, a leader has been called ‘psychopath’ and ‘master divider’ by people and agencies. We didn’t acknowledge such comments.”
Surjewala was referring to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “psychopath” in 2015. Last year, the Time magazine had described Modi as India’s “divider in chief” on the cover of its May 20 issue.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Tariq Anwar said Gandhi has evolved since Obama met him last. “Obama and Rahul Gandhi must have met briefly, probably 8 to 10 years ago when he came to India as US president,” he said. “To assess someone in few meetings is tough. Rahul Gandhi’s personality has changed since then, he has gained a lot of experience.”
Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore said he has unfollowed Obama on Twitter. “Reason his judgment about Indian political leaders and words against them not acceptable by any true Indian,” he tweeted. “Will you also unfollow him?”