Heard Rahul Gandhi out speaking to CII. First the good news. He is right in saying that India is a very complex country, there are no simple solutions. He is also right - at least so far - when he says that power has not devolved to the grassroots, with the result that MPs and MLAs have to think about things that ought to be thought of by the Pradhans. And he is right when he says the country lacks physical infrastructure, that we have to think exponentially rather than incrementally, and for it gives credit to the Green Revolution, the Telecom revolution, but understandably stops short of doing so to the Highway revolution launched by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Now the bad news. Lots of it. Whoever wrote that speech for him did an awfully shoddy job, and it sounder shoddier when Rahul was reading from it at times without maintaining eye contact with the audience. It is full of ill-fitting metaphors, platitudes and some management jargon, and (this reminded me of the Communists) contains enunciation of a lot of problems, BUT NOT A SINGLE SOLUTION. He repeated his fascination with the Aam Aadmi which was manifest in his Kalavati speech in the Lok Sabha, this time talking about some poor workmen travelling from gorakhpur to Mumbai. He appreciated their optimism amidst squalour. He did not offer any solutions for their hopelessness. The central theme of his speech appeared to be that India's strength will flow from its huge numbers, who are each working in their own way. His beehive analogy, with which he rubbished the elephant analogy, summed this up very adequately. He even said obviously trying to take (but failing) to take a dig a Modi, when he said "give one person the power to do something and he will fail: give it to the 1.2 billion people and it will be done immediately", or words to that effect. All this is arguable, though at times sometimes dangerously vague and hazy. The question is, WHERE IS HIS ROLE IN ALL THIS? And if he honestly means what he repeatedly said, that Rahul Gandhi is irrelevant (sometimes bracketing poor Montek Singh Ahluwalia with him,)then it is possible he is speaking God's truth, but does he hold that the quality of LEADERSHIP IS ALSO IRRELEVANT? That the country does not need leadership or policy, or to use his analogy, it does not need a Queen Bee? Apparently he does. And for having vented so many of his ideas frankly and truthfully, he might be forgiven for the gaffe of calling Rani Laxmibai as 'Rani ki Jhansi'. It was at the very end of his speech, the poor fellow must have been tired and nervous. He was trying to run down Modi, by comparing him to the 'guy who comes charging on horseback'. It must have hurt him to think that no way he can be that guy, and that might have made him even more nervous. It happens to all of us.