Part of the problem is presumably the coterie of advisers who surround Mr Gandhi. Western-educated, bright and eager to cosset their leader within a very small bubble, they appear unready for the messy realities of Indian politics: the shady alliances that are required to win elections; the need to strike deals with powerful regional figures who increasingly shape national politics; the importance of crafting a media strategy in an era of cable TV news. More basically, they seem not to have developed any consistent views on policy. What does Mr Gandhi stand for: more liberal economic reforms; defensive nationalism; an expansion of welfare? Instead they prefer to focus on tactics. Perhaps because of their poor advice, their man too often looks opportunistic and inconsistent.