Two minutes with Rahul Gandhi: Experience of a meeting at 10, Janpath

Written by vik

Topics: People, Socio-Political

Rahul Gandhi Today I, with two senior friends, met Rahul Gandhi at the 10, Janpath. This is an experience of the whole meeting and includes even the finer details such as the sitting arrangement, security, lawn, the place, the look and feel etc. It also has a brief detail on the AICC headquarters, Sonia Gandhi’s office in it and Rahul Gandhi’s residence at 12, Tughlaq lane – the other places we visited. Please note that I have no special liking for Rahul or the Congress Party and we met him regarding the urgent need for reforms in the way the Civil Services Examination is conducted by the UPSC.  This is also a first-hand experience of meeting India’ s ‘crown prince’.

The issue

I along with Mr. Indravir, PhD student, CSRD, JNU and Dr. Naveen Kr. Naveen met Rahul today morning. Dr. Naveen had requested an appointment with him and it was confirmed just two days ago. The Civil Services Examination conducted by the UPSC has many loopholes. Most recently the Natchiappan Committee and the Administrative Reforms Commission –II have underlined the urgent need for reforms in the examination system but the UPSC does not budge and the government does not appear very inclined to reform it.

Waiting outside 10 Janpath

We reached 10 Janpath at about 9 am [Akbar road] only to find about 100 people already there with more trickling in every moment. We had hoped that Rahul would give us at least 15 minutes of hearing but it was clear that it was a kind of interaction with the public and he would hardly have anytime for us! There were people of all kinds there – young and old. There was only one woman in the whole crowd and one physically challenged person. Most people appeared to belong from the middle class and most of them were wearing Pyjamas Kurtas or white clothes. Nalinikant Mohanty, a Congress activist from Orissa who had come to get some post in the Orissa Congress was also there.  He told us that he was interviewed for about 5 hours in more than one round by Rahul and others in Orissa for a party post! At about 9:30 am, two people came with registers and called names. You had to leave your bags and mobile outside (we were not carrying the mobile anyway) but files and folders are allowed.

SPG Guards, Sitting arrangement, Fans, the place, Notices

After the roll call you go inside the premise. Special Protection Group (SPG) Guards wearing grey safari suit, their usual dress, are manning the check points [most of them have a paunch, alas]. The metal detector doors [Fisher Labs brand, USA]  looked very smart and even very different from the ones commonly found at the railway station or the Sarojini Nagar Market. SPG guards who have their Id cards attached to white chains address you politely [“Sir”] and make you feel special! You finally arrive at the place designated for the meeting. About 150 chairs, all in white covers arranged neatly in two columns, wait for you. The place has a nice look and feel about it with green asbestos roof above, a lawn beside it and concrete wall with latticework on the right.

The fans were really special and I had never seen this kind of fan! There were three kinds of fans in the premise – the regular ceiling fan (Cromptom Greaves brand) creamy white in colour, the wall fans attached to the iron rods (Khaitan brand and rather old),  and a Crompton Greaves brand special big and long fans that emitted water because they had big cylindrical bottom holding water. They were like coolers in some ways and were very suitable for desert cooler type effect in open spaces. I could not find it even on the website of Crompton Greaves!

Members of All India Congress Sewa Dal [such as Mr. Mahendra  Thakur, whose name I noted from his Id card] wearing white clothes and black shoes were ushering people in the premise. The front three rows were reserved for ‘elected representatives’ while the rest for others.  A special feature of the premise was the notices in the premise. These were kind of instructions for the visitors and were both in English and Hindi:

1. NO AUTOGRAPH
2. DO NOT TOUCH FEET
3. पैर छुना मना है [spelling mistake as in original]

I went to the water coolers near the place not for drinking water but for having a better view of the place. The water was not cold enough but the Aquaguad Hiflo water filter was attached to it. There was no knob on the door of one of the toilets near the premise though there were many holes where a knob should have been suggesting that many attempts were made to fix a knob in it! It was an eyesore for me in an otherwise well managed place. A Tata Safari [registration no. 2237] was also parked near the premise.

Rahul appears

Rahul appeared at about 10 am. A Muslim delegation was the first to meet him; he greeted everyone with folded hands.  Just about 2-3  minutes to every group/person for obvious reasons. He was with his PA Mr. Anish [Kanish?] who was also a young man and collecting the papers submitted to Rahul and giving further briefings. People were comfortable with him and no one went overboard. We were the third or fourth group to meet him [also because we were sitting almost in the front stall].

Rahul Gandhi’s Personality and our case

Rahul looked okay just as in the media. He is about 170 centimetres and is not a tall man. He was wearing his trademark clothing –Pyjama Kurta and the same specs as seen in his photos in the newspapers. He was calm and composed.

When we said a line on the need for the reforms in the UPSC, he asked us if we were from some student organisation! We went blank for a moment [CSE aspirants do not have time to mobilize to wage a struggle; groups have been formed in the past but they withered away] but then Mr. Naveen among us said that a group named ‘Youth For Justice’ had recently protested against the UPSC [it was also in the media]. Rahul asked us if we had met the “education minister” and we said ‘No’! We were a bit surprised because it had nothing to do with the MHRD but with the DoPT! Rahul asked us to meet MP Meenakshi Natarajan in the AICC headquarters because she was concerned with the education section! Rahul’s PA Mr. Anish gave us Meenakshi’s phone no. and said we should meet her about the case because this matter relates to education and “will have impact on all universities in India!”

Needless to say Rahul or his PA did not had much clue about the UPSC and its functioning. We left the place hoping  that he will at least forward our petition to the relevant department! We then went to the AICC headquarters. Our meeting with Rahul and his PA lasted for about 3 minutes only.

AICC Headquarters 24, Akbar road

The HQ opened at about 11 am and people were allowed inside through a small door. A very poor, emaciated person was being denied entry by the guard but later allowed entry upon some persuasion by the former but not until the latter had mocked him saying “he will be medically examined!”

We went to the tiny office of Meenakshi and were told by his PA that she may come only in the afternoon. We also did not had much hope about it anyway and were there because it was stone’ s throw away from the 10 Janpath.

AICC Canteen and Sonia Gandhi’s Office

The AICC canteen was slightly expensive but okay. The taste of drinking water in the premise was not satisfactory. A lot of construction was on in the premise.

Indravir, who had visited the place earlier took us to show Sonia Gandhi’s office in the premise. The special thing about it is that it is sealed when she is not there! I actually read the note on the paper-seal on the lock (This room has been locked by ….. on. … time…)!

12,  Tughlaq Lane

Thereafter we went to 12, Tughlaq Lane which is Rahul’s residence because one of us had to book a fresh appointment with him. NSG guards were manning the reception there and even operating the computer!

This was in a nutshell a report of the visit. 🙂

Last revised: 14 December 2009

73 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. smitha kumaran says:

    hi ….vikas… i have been following through your posts after i hit upon your RTI questionnaire… Being a civil services aspirant when i read “It has students’ blood in its hands, to cut a long story short.” …. and the lines that followed after that… it is sometimes demotivating…

  2. smitha kumaran says:

    Just curious … did u exhaust your attempts..

  3. oorja says:

    */Needless to say Rahul or his PA did not had much clue about the UPSC and its functioning. /*

    of course as expected..

    and loved the way you have pointed about all the details.. even the bathroom door knobs.. and water cooler car registration no. (hope they don’t mind) and the spelling mistake too..

    well.. it was like a typical meet the politician who has no clue of who you are and why you are there but must be polite and good to keep up his repo.

    P.s – and thanks for rating the video for the social vibe.. you are the only person who has done it on my site.. except for me.. i do it myself to try to help. 🙂

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Smitha, I have recently paid heavily for my creativity and RTI activism! I just missed an IAS level post in Delhi; I was the topper until the interview stage. I just could not control myself in the interview stage and they found out that I am not the bureaucratic personality who will keep his eyes and mouth shut and therefore did not select me!

      • Abhay says:

        I wonder how anyone can reject you at the Interview stage (which is a part of Mains Examination).

        If you are a topper until Interview, you could have easily got through even with below average marks in the Interview. Many be not IAS, but allied. A hole in your theory.

  4. Aryan's Mom says:

    Ahh good intricate post. The sealing system is really special.

  5. vijay says:

    thanx,i could visualize the aicc headquarter but really disappointed to know that mr. rahul gandhi have no idea how the upsc works..i m surprised that “leader of the youth brigade” asked you to meet the education minister who does not exist in India and as far as i know we have a minister of human resource development in our country…
    i feel degree from abroad is not sufficient to become a good leader………….

  6. Arun Shankar says:

    That was an interesting narration, into a world that was not thought of by people like me!

  7. Vikas Gupta says:

    Replies to Aryan’s Mom, Vijay and Arun Shankar,

    1. Thanks Aryan’s mom! Yes the sealing system at AICC is really special. Even Rahul’s room was not sealed; only Sonia’s room is sealed.

    2. Vijay, he may have used the term ‘education minster’ in general. There are others who use the term too. But yes, a member of the govt. could be more precise.

    3. Thank you Arun ji. Glad you liked it! 🙂

  8. Vikas Gupta says:

    DISCUSSION WITH SMITHA CONTD…

    You can say that Smitha, alas! I look forward to finish a book on UPSC CSE by the end of this year – a thorough critique.

  9. Arpit says:

    look whose back from the dead! 😛
    yeah you guessed right! hehe……………..
    by the way i read the orkut update about your meeting witth rahul gandhi …..but right now dont feel like commenting on it ! in fact suddenly i am feeling so happy to return back to blogging world all of a sudden will catch up with all the posts later!
    till then bbyE!

  10. rashwet says:

    vikas bhaiya
    just all the best for your “MAHA SANGRAM” against ‘UPSC”. I hope your efforts shall bring fruits of transparency in the institution.

  11. Pal says:

    Hi,
    Stumbled across while browsing through WP. Enjoyed reading your post on the meeting with Rahul Gandhi.
    Though I just ended feeling sorry for the guy. From your account, it seems like he tries ‘delegating’ everything without having the time or the experience to understand what the issue is about or what really needs to be done.
    Ofcourse this yuvaraj will be PM someday. But will it actually be good for the country? Will he really be able to handle such a huge responsibility efficiently?!
    GOK.
    Cheers..

  12. yogesh says:

    Dear Mr. Vikas,
    I am big fan of Rahul Gandhi, thats why i was searching some news releated to him and i found your blog “Two minutes with Rahul Gandhi: Experience of a meeting at 10, Janpath.” I am very much impressed with this blog. Coz i felty that you have spend only 2 min. with Mr. Rahul Gandhi but the way you explain all thses things in his office suddenly creat a picture of it in our mind. So that we could felt that we were present there.
    It was rerally feel nice to read this article. I hope you will do addition in our knowledge always by this way.

    Regards,
    Yogesh

  13. Dhankhar says:

    Hi Vikas

    How are you man..???
    Hope you recognized me..!!!

    Check out my new post [Recruitment + Politics = Corruption] on my blog http://iasaspirant.wordpress.com

    I appreciate this post…!!
    Keep fighting man..!!

    What you say about 2nd ARC’s recommendation regarding reduction of age limit [21 to 25] in civil services…???

  14. Ranjeet says:

    you are a great vacuas……thank god you have not been selected by UPSC

  15. shivendra says:

    sir mera naam shivendra singh tomar hai aur me aapse kuch baat karna chahta hun me u.p ke disst,, jaloun ka rahne wala hamare yahaan congress bahut kam hai lekin ab sabhi cangress se judna chahte hai isliye meri aapse request hai ki aap hamare yahaan ek apna program rakhe me apni tarf se saaari vyabastha karunga ……….. contect number >>9039633294

  16. jitesh j singh says:

    respected sir i want toreally meet rahul gandhi ji plz if possible its very urgent call me on 9871083259

  17. irfan sheikh says:

    dear vikas,
    hi i have met Rahul Gandhi and almost two dozen minister in his cabinet.let me tell you The Gandhi family had paid a heavy price for wearing the crown.Rahul lost his grand mother and father to extremism.Rahul could have easily settled abroad i hope Sonia ji could afford a good house which rahul Gandhi can live in happily.Today he is toiling hard to see what the common man needs and where are the flaws.After reading your blogs i feel you are blessed with creativity and a positive mind why dont you join politics.Try Youth congress if you do not have a bias.

    God bless You.

  18. sahil ishpunani says:

    happy birthday to you khushiyon ka tyohaar. tum jiyo hazaaro saal yeh meri hai aarzoo happy birthday to you

  19. khushiyon ka tyohaar laaye yeh gifts . happy birthday to you

  20. happy birthday khushiyo ka tyohaar laaye naye uphaar

  21. Miliind says:

    so guys how exactly do you book an appointment with Rahul Gandhi, will appreciate if someone can enlighten me as I am looking to have some changes made in the tourism sector too……

  22. Kaushik says:

    @Vikas,
    thanks for this post. Although I was a little optimistic that Rahul Gandhi would solve the UPSC’s problem. But i guess we all disqualified candidates will have to give exam next year and there is no chance UPSC will revise its 2010’s prelim result, which is alleged to be full of faults.

    A long talk about is going on here on following thread

    http://www.indianofficer.com/forums/prelims-general-discussions/9359-5000-candidates-failed-matter-going-supreme-court-if-not-sorted-out-commission-level.html

  23. pradeep nigam says:

    wanted to meet you sir

  24. Pradeep Nigam says:

    Respected Rahul Gandhi ji,
    My name is Pradeep Nigam, Ex-secretary Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and i have been in congress committee since past twenty years but as due to some problems i have not been able to progress in my career in politics. Sir i have already stood for the Elections of Vidhan Sabha in 1992. I have been working for the party since then but now when i didn’t find any way of progress and i am not getting any results of my work for the party, i am asking you for the help.
    sir if it is possible then, please give me an appointment of yours just for 10 minutes so that i can meet you and discuss about this matter with you.
    sir i want to work for the congress party and i want your support so that i may proceed with my work.
    Thanking You
    yours sincerely,
    Pradeep Nigam,
    Shivala,
    Kanpur,U.P.
    Phone no. 09450743046.

  25. PANKAJ KUMAR says:

    dear sir,
    mai apse milna chahta hu

    thanks & regards

    pankaj

  26. Hello! Respected Rahul Ghandi good evening I am Sakshi Singh I study in 5th Std in Sacred Heart Convent School in Ludhiana (Punjab)
    Sir
    The Congress Party is your and whole Indian people party. So now see how much costly things are there. Mr. prime minister Manmohan Singh Ji. His last sestion in Primeministership after this he will not be the prime minister in the futre. Secondly Mr. Pranav Mukharjee. He is Already anouced that he will not play an active roll in poltics. He is finance Minister. Thirdly Mr. Sharad Pawar. The Minister of agriculture and food supply. His party is N.C.P. not congress representative. So Rahul Ji you leads the Indian Congress party. You will take a write action and make a good decision just like a Indira Ghandi for the progress of congress party. Congress Ka Hath Aam Adami Ke Saath. Rahul Ji you are future prime minister. So please my request less the higher cost of every thing. Just like vegetables, pulses and every thing etc. And you keep strong command on agriculture minister, finance minister and prime minister because he will not take good decision and action. And also retaired after complesion of their duration because win a youngester and win a farmer. THANKS VERY MUCH
    SAKSHI SINGH.

  27. Rahul says:

    Does that prove the claims laid by Mr Subramanium Swamy about Rahul Gandhi being thrown out of Harvard due to very poor academic performance and does not know anything about India’s geography or history for that matter?

  28. PRATIK VERMA says:

    Rahul sir,
    i want some help for ur side i am belong for ALLAHABAD but presently i am in DELHI sir i want to study in any mba colleage but mba fees is so highe and my father unable to pay my fees so plez help me plez….. i am waiting for ur reply my contact no is 8826787702

  29. vijay bhatt says:

    can it possible i would like meet with u sir.

  30. laxmi agarwal says:

    respected rahul ji, rahil ji aap ek rastrya level pr upexit karykarta cell banaye, jisse jo log party ke parti samrpit hain unko smman mil sake verna jydaker jo log bade netao ki buttering karte hain unhe samman milta hain. sangtahn me kam karne wale ki upeksha hoti hai jisse party kamjor hoti hai. aap se anurodh hai ki is cell ki monitring aap dwara honi chahiye.

    p.k agarwal
    laxmi agrwal kendriy adhyash priynka rahul brigade
    sate president media
    uttrakhand mahila congress
    mob: 09837072684

    dehradun. mob: 09837078291

  31. vikas arora says:

    hi rahul ji h r u .kya aap yeh bata sakenge ki hamare desh ka vikas in kuch politician ke haton mein to nahi rehjayega yeh 2g spectram ghotala,adarsh society ghotala.kya in ghotalun ka bhooj janta par nahi padega kya is se hamare desh ka naam kharab nahi hoga .sir kya yeh hame brasht hona to nahi sikha rahe ki khud bhi khao or hame bhi khane do.chalega per wo garib janta ka kya hoga jo bhuki soti thi ,soti hai or soti rahegi sir is desh ko kuch log apne swarth ke liye deemak k tarah isi kaha rahe hain pls is deemak ko jad se ukhar phankiye sir jisse hum ik lhush hali bhare ghar mein ik chain ki jindgi je saken

  32. Md. Aftab Alam says:

    Dear Vikas ,

    Your work in this regard is really praiseworthy . I have gone throgh tthe narration of your words .In a gingle day youru will not be pass . It will take time … I think we should not stop our mission . I think Rahul will think over it ,today not may be latter … Do your work .

    Regards

    Aftab

  33. WANTED TO MEET YOU & HAPPY DASERA

  34. Debajyoti Basu says:

    I want to talk with Rahul Gandhi due to Indian classical Music.
    I am a Tabla Player .Now day’s indian classical music is going downwards.

  35. Debajyoti Basu says:

    I am Debajyoti Basu,a Tabla Player want to talk about Indian Classical Music which is going downward,so i want to talk with Rahul Gandhi.

  36. rupraj manikpuri says:

    hallow rahulgandhi g main aapka 1 shubhchintak 36garh se sir main aapse milna chahta hun aur aapke party me aa k party ki seva karna chahta is party me aane k bad main wiswas dilata hun ki vidhansabha chunav me agli sarkar hamri hogi. sir 1 bar trust kijiye main party ko bahut fayda pahunchaunga bas 1 bar mujhe aapse milne ka appoinment dijiye. main aap ki aur party ki wiswas jit k dikhaunga. mera no.9754392053 idea. 09827199253 relaince. 7587416555 BSNL. mera pata Rupraj Manikpuri
    vill- Chhanchhi, Post- Pisid, Teh.- Kasdol, Dist- Raipur. Pin-493335 36Garh

  37. sheenam says:

    hi vikas!i just wanted to ask whether any documents are required to enter the premises?i have an appointment,any documents required?

  38. sheenam says:

    any legal documents needed?i have an appointment.just wanted to confirm whether any legal documents are needed?

  39. U.P. ME JONAL PRABHRIYO KO SANGATHAN KA KARY DENEY K LIYE APKO DHANYWAD AUR BADHAI;NISCHIT ROOP SE LOGO NE JIMMEDARI KA NIRWAHAN KIYA TO PARINAM SUKHAD RAHEGA .

  40. RAHUL SINGH says:

    dear sir I meet you

  41. Please call me sir.
    Rahul bhai mai aapse holi se pahle milna chahta hoon.
    Jeetpal Yadav
    Moradabad ( U.P )
    mob 09997536345

  42. Great website. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you in your effort!

  43. Mai Rahul Gandhi Ji Se Milan Chahta hoon please Call Me.
    Jeetpal Yadav
    Mob 09997536345

  44. Please Rahul Bhai Jaldi Appotment fix karo mai Lok Sabha Chunav ke baare mai kuch bate karna chahta hoon.
    Name – Jeetpal Yadav
    Address – Village – Bichpuri ,
    Post – Senjana
    Tehsil – Sambhal
    Distt – Moradabad
    State – ( Uttar Pradesh )
    Pin – ( 244302 )
    Mob – 09997536345

  45. i met to rahul gandhi ji 7 may on 10 janpath delhi..full security full intzam sabhi ka
    i impress to rahul ji

  46. Brandon says:

    How are you, very good webpage you’ve right now.

  47. Please call me.
    Please mai Rahul Bhaiya mai aapse milna chah raha hoon please jaldi Appoitment ka reply de do.
    Kuch jaruri kaam hai.
    Name – Jeetpal Yadav
    Village – Bichpuri ,
    Post – Senjana ,
    Tehsil – Sambhal ,
    Distt – Moradabad ,
    State – ( Uttar Pradesh ) ,
    Pin – ( 244302 )
    Mob – 09997536345
    Please call me Rahul Bhaiya.
    Jeetpal Yadav
    Mob – 09997536345

  48. Hiiii My Name Is Jeetpal Yadav From , Bichpuri , Sambhal , ( U.P )
    Mai Rahul Bhaiya Ji Se Milna Chah Raha Hoon Please My Help You.
    Name – Jeetpal Yadav
    Address – Village – Bichpuri
    Post – Senjana
    Tehsil – Sambhal
    Distt – Sambhal
    State – ( U.P )
    Pin – ( 244302 )
    Mob – 09997536345
    Email – jeetpalyadaviyc@gmail.com

  49. Please Reply Me.
    Aam Logo Ki Meeting Kab Hai.
    Jeetpal Yadav
    ( Friend And Younger Brother Of Rahul Gandhi )
    From – Sambhal , U.P
    Mob – 09997536345

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  51. Hiiii How Are You.
    Rahul Bhaiya Se Kuch Log Mulaqat KARNA chah Rahe Hai. Aam Logo Se Rahul Bhaiya Kab Mil Rahe Hai . Please Jaldi Reply Dena.
    Jeetpal Yadav
    ( Friend & Younger Brother Of Rahul Gandhi )
    Address – Village – Bichpuri , Post – Senjana , Tehsil & Distt – Sambhal ( U.P ) , Pin – 244302
    Mob – 09997536345

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  56. Vikas Gupta says:

    Pal, I think we are being harsh on the guy. This is a very small sample. He is taking active interest in the working of the party to the working of the country. He knows he is inexperienced. He will still be better than many other contenders for the post. I think today her sister Priyanka is a more mature woman.

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