26 November, 2020

Aquarium Fish Can Swim

Royal or commoner, young politicians sprung from the Rahul Gandhi stable proved their mettle

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Aquarium Fish Can Swim

When he moved from Tamil Nadu to Delhi, Manickam subtly transformed himself into Manick, apparently to fit in, like the Krishnas who become Chris when they hit the US. "Tagore" came to him as his Nadar community favours names of nationalist leaders for its children. Despite an odd name, an 'outsider' status (he rose to prominence in Congress youth politics in Delhi, not his home state), a last-minute candidature and a short campaign, Manick Tagore surprised many by making it to the 15th Lok Sabha from Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu. To get there, he defeated no less a rival than the fiery Vaiko, with his vociferous squads of Tamil nationalist campaigners.

Like 35-year-old Manick, many of the first-time MPs bearing "handpicked by Rahul" tags, almost like ISI certification, are unlikely or offbeat victors. Meenakshi Natarajan, Rahul's down-to-earth, bespectacled and distinctly unglamorous AICC aide, had to play down her Tamil origins in BJP stronghold Mandsaur, and point instead to her (non-political) family's long...



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