A freewheeling interview, some banter thrown in, and careful attention to the fact that no personal attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be made while questioning the government over the coronavirus pandemic crisis and how it is being handled.
Rahul Gandhi's press conference, addressed on Friday via video conference, was packed with suggestions and the most important related to an economic package. Gandhi suggested a cash transfer into everyone’s account as a bailout.
“Call it 'nyay' (justice) or call it by any other name but do it," he urged the central government.
But the most important advicefrom Gandhi was that the fear factor of the pandemic must be reduced.
“Only a few people die, only about 1%-2% of the affected, so we shouldn’t panic," he said.
It is this fear factor that has scared and stopped many state governments within the country and many governments abroad from opening up and lifting their lockdowns. But now experts are beginning to advise that endless lockdowns do not help as they hurt the economy and do irreparable damage. Despite a stringent lockdown, the number of infections is not showing signs of reducing anytime soon.
The idea behind these press conferences is simple. One is to show that Modi doesn’t hold such briefings and that transparency isn’t the hallmark of the BJP. It’s not on these grounds that Gandhi has raised objections to the Aarogya Setu mobiel app.
The Congress wants to project itself as a positive alternative, one with real ideas and which will not just rant against the government and the Prime Minister. Even while criticising the government, Gandhi tried to take care to temper it with suggestions.
The reality which the Congress is and should be aware of is that during a crisis, criticising the government can boomerang. No one wants an opposition that criticises without caring to be careful.