For a person who has had one of the most public childhoods in the world, there is precious little that is known about Rahul Gandhi and his life. In fact, some basic facts of his life still remain shrouded in mystery, like whether or not he got a degree in finance from Harvard (some say that he got an MPhil degree in development economics), or which firm in London he worked for in those indeterminate years between his degree and his return to India in 2002.
Most of Rahul Gandhi’s reticence, according to those close to his family, stems from the fact that when his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, entered politics, much was made of his circle of friends, which consisted almost entirely of Doon School buddies.
Rahul Gandhi’s Inner Circle:
The Congress scion has, from the beginning, indicated that he wants to change the set political order and bring in a new discourse. His hand-picked inner-circle reflects the ‘new-age’ politics he preaches:
KAUSHAL K VIDYARTHEE
Kaushal Vidyarthee is said to be one of the points of contact when someone needs to talk to Rahul or vice-versa.
Vidyarthee is part of the new-age group which Rahul thought would be able to connect him with the masses. The plan, however, backfired as the party kept losing election after election. Vidyarthee and his colleagues were criticised for “only being good with computers”, but not being able to understand ground-level politics.
He entered politics in 2003 as part of Sheila Dikshit’s electoral campaign. Kanishka Singh had quit his job with New York-based merchant banking firm Lazard Freres & Co to take the plunge with Congress.
He caught the eye of Congress bigwigs after his 2004 article in Outlook magazine. His sharp mind and successful prediction that Sonia Gandhi would win the 2004 Lok Sabha elections brought him closer to Rahul.
Singh was instrumental in studying caste and community compositions to identify a particular candidate’s chances. Some media reports suggest that he is now an understudy to treasurer Motilal Vora, to learn the ropes of the trade once the veteran politician retires.
The former SPG officer quit his service in 2010 and is now in-charge of Rahul Gandhi’s security detail. Byju has an active Twitter handle and constantly uses it to rebuke PM Narendra Modi and the BJP. Despite being the chief of intelligence in Rahul’s security detail, Byju also oversees logistics and media.
A former ICICI Bank employee, Alankar Sawai was in-charge of documentation and research for Rahul Gandhi. He, along with Kaushal Vidyarthee, accompanies Rahul on each visit outside Delhi. Sawai was also looking after the social media team of Rahul Gandhi before Divya Spandana a.k.a Ramya took over the reins.
The MBA in corporate strategy and international business from Michigan Business School manages Youth Congress and NSUI organisational setups. He heads the Election Commission that looks after the elevation of leaders in both organisations. Rao is said to have turned his focus to helping Rahul after the Congress leader spotted him when the former joined the Centre for Civil Society in Delhi.