When you’re a part-time politician, it can be hard to keep track of all the messy details — like the names of the things you’re talking about.
Rahul Gandhi today called a press conference to show his support for the protesting farmers in Delhi. He called the farmers “satyagrahis”, and said he was throwing his weight behind them. He even put in a timely reference. “What’s happening today at the Shambhu border, the way the government is beating up protesters, is completely wrong,” he declared.
It was a moving speech, but there was a problem — there’s no Shambhu border in Delhi.
The primary protests in Delhi are taking place at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders. Of these, the one that’s phonetically most similar to Rahul Gandhi’s “Shambhu” is Singhu, so it’s likely that Rahul Gandhi was referring to the Singhu border when he spoke of atrocities at “Shambhu”.
There is a Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana though, where farmers had been protesting two months ago, but it is unlikely that Rahul Gandhi was referring to that border, given how the action now has shifted to the borders of Delhi.
But Rahul Gandhi insisted in the press conference that the violence at “Shambhu” border was condemnable. This is at a time when Singhu border is being covered non-stop across all news channels, and people across the country have been hearing the name ad-nauseum for weeks. What’s worse, Rahul Gandhi lives barely 40 kilometers away from Singhu in Lutyens Delhi, yet found it impossible to name the border which has been at the center of these protests. One can hardly blame him though — his jet-setting lifestyle perhaps requires him to stay out of the country for long periods, and it can be such a chore to remember names of rustic areas where thousands have spent days in protests.