Former US president Barack Obama in his memoir has compared Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to a hapless student, in biting commentary on the dynastic scion who twice led his party to crushing election defeats.
In the book, A Promised Land, that releases on Tuesday, Obama writes that Gandhi has “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject,” according to a review in The New York Times.
Rahul led the Congress in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, both of which resulted in decisive victories by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rahul, 50, has long struggled to combat perceptions that he is not interested in becoming prime minister, a position held by his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi, both of whom were assassinated.
In his book, Obama offered a more positive assessment of another Congress figure, former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, whom the former US president has also praised publicly.
Rahul is not the only international figure on the receiving end of colourful prose by Obama, according to the review.
Apart from Singh and Gandhi, Obama has alluded to PM Modi in a separate piece of writing – a short 2015 profile that appeared in Time: “Prime Minister Modi recognizes that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world.”
He describes France’s flashy former president Nicolas Sarkozy as having “his chest thrust out like a bantam cock’s.”