'Nehru-Gandhi family scion must speak as an outsider, take charge'

'Nehru-Gandhi family scion must speak as an outsider, take charge'

Gandhis portrayal of himself as against divisive politics got a boost with his call for devolution of power.

'Nehru-Gandhi family scion must speak as an outsider, take charge'

Though Rahul Gandhi expresses his commitment to carry forward his party’s secular and inclusive growth agenda, the Nehru-Gandhi family scion, who is projected by his partymen as the future prime ministerial candidate of the Congress, is yet to have his own stamp in his party’s strategy for the 2014 polls.

He has dedicated himself to his party and has been working to strengthen it for the last nine years since joining politics, but his efforts failed to yield any significant result.

In Uttar Pradesh, as many as 248 meetings were held in 45 days under Gandhi’s direction during state assembly polls last year. After all that hype, the Congress increased its tally to just 26 seats from 22. The party also suffered an unexpected defeat in Punjab assembly polls last year despite a huge wave of anti-incumbency against the Akali Dal-led government.

He has long talked of ending dynastic privilege and making Congress the first party to have internal democracy. Yet in January this year, Gandhi accepted the crown of the party’s “vice president,” adding a new era in its dynastic history.

In his speeches, the Congress vice president has portrayed himself as a person striving to end the “divisive” politics in the country, saying that he would try to reduce caste and religious tensions. Recently, speaking at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Gandhi made a strong pitch for devolution of power to strengthen the panchayati raj system.

The critics, however, found him unrealistic when he criticised the political system in India, keeping himself completely out of it. He maintained that he was in politics just because of “a chain of people” and his “DNA”

“It’s good to think about bringing change in party. It would require proper strategy. But, he should be speaking as an outsider. He will also have to take some responsibility,” a noted author and political analyst Zoya Hassan said.

Outlining other challenges before Gandhi, she said the biggest is that what will be the party’s strategy in 2014 polls. “Will it be again inclusive development proposed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and prime Minister Manmohan Singh? Gandhi will have to have his own stamp in the strategy for the upcoming polls,” she added.

In the recent past there were two occasions when the people were galvanised across the country, protesting against corruption and security of women. Youth came together like never before. But on both occasions Rahul was found wanting, as a political leader and as a youth icon.

“He will have to come forward on such occasions and react. He will have to show his leadership. During UPA-II, the gap between the civil society and government has widened. He will have to ponder over these things,” Hassan said.

Despite Rahul expressing lack of interest in the top job, the Congress has been projecting him as next prime Minister in an incremental way, with some strongly backing him while others remain non-committal.

“Without any doubt, he is secular and, hence, fulfills the requirement of the Constitution. He is well educated and dedicated to his party and people of the country. The country needs such a person,” Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma, a staunch supporter of the Congress vice president, said supporting his candidature for the post of prime minister.

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