Rahul Gandhi preferred silence during the UPA regime as speaking his mind would have meant either being critical of the Prime Minister or his mother, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said and termed as "amazing transformation" the Congress vice president's approach after his 56-day sabbatical.
"The Rahul who left is not the Rahul who has come back," Omar said on the Congress Vice President aggressively taking on the Modi government.
"That's an amazing transformation. I don't know what it's down to. I haven't had the chance to meet up with him as he has been incredibly busy but I don't know where he went and what he did...
"What this transformation is down to, I will try and learn because I guess there are lessons to be learnt for myself in that as well. I just hope that it doesn't mean I have to disappear for 56 days. But it's good. Hats off to him," Omar told PTI here.
He said speaking for Rahul earlier was always going to be difficult. "For him to speak his mind would have meant either being critical of his prime minister or critical of his mother. And that was never going to be easy. And, therefore, I think his option was then to keep quiet and that allowed the perception to grow that he couldn't speak and did not know what he wanted to say," he said.
Rahul had a lot to say but he just wasn't in a position to be able to say it, which is the advantage of being in the opposition where one just gets to speak his or her mind, he said.
Omar hoped that Rahul will be able to sustain this momentum till the next general elections.
"The question which people are asking and I am sure he will really prove them wrong is if he will be able to sustain it. People are wondering whether this is going to be a splash in the pan... two months, three months, four months and then nothing.
"I think, from what I know of him, now that he has set his mind, this is what he will have till next general elections," he said.