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Lacks aptitude or passion: Barack Obama on Rahul Gandhi

Lacks aptitude or passion: Barack Obama on Rahul Gandhi

In “A Promised Land” Obama’s soon to be published memoir, the former US president has personal takes on various global leaders

Eastern Times , New Delhi : Former US President Barack Obama’s soon to be published memoir – “A Promised Land” – is set to create quite a stir in Indian political circles.

This is what Obama has to say about the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi: He has a “nervous, unformed quality, as if he were a student who’d done the course work and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or passion to master the subject”. Sentiments that are echoed by many Congress watchers – that Rahul Gandhi doesn’t understand the way politics is played in India.

Obama last visited India in 2017 with wife Michelle. During that visit he had a long meeting with Rahul Gandhi.

After that meeting Rahul had tweeted: “Had fruitful discussions with Barack Obama.” It was obvious that he was overwhelmed by Obama.

Obama has also reminisced about Rahul’s mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and two-time prime minister Manmohan Singh. The former US president says Singh has a kind of impassive integrity. A trait shared by US defence secretary Robert Gates.

The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had a very good relationship with the Obama administration. The US-India nuclear deal was signed during that time. Interestingly though Obama twice visited India when Narendra Modi was the prime minister, Modi has not been mentioned in “A Promised Land”.

Other leaders who get a mention include US president-elect Joe Biden, Russian president Vladimir Putin, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and China’s Hu Jintao.

Biden is described as a man who “might get prickly if he thought he wasn’t given his due — a quality that might flare up when dealing with a much younger boss.” Biden was vice-president when Obama was the president.

Vladimir Putin reminded Obama of Chicago gang leaders. “Physically, he was unremarkable,” is Obama’s pithy description.

“A Promised Land” is the first part of a two-volume memoir. The first volume charts out Obama’s early life and ends with the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. The book is likely to be published on November 17, 2020.


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