Rahul Gandhi is aggressive when it comes to fighting injustice; he is leading the party, said Congress general secretary
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s comments to a local channel in Goa that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi did not have the temperament of a ruler echoes remarks of Congressmen over the last month. Party workers have been saying much the same — some even more strongly, if privately — since the party was decimated in the general elections.
Given Mr. Singh’s seniority — and believed proximity to Mr. Gandhi — his remarks sparked off a controversy. By the time he reached Bangalore later in the day, he was forced to “clarify” what he had said in Goa.
Giving a spin to his Goa interview, he said: “I said he is always fighting against injustice and therefore he is not for power. That is the difference between us and him. He is aggressive when it comes to fighting injustice. He’s leading the party.”
Pressed to respond on whether he was questioning the leadership calibre of the Gandhis, he said, “No, no. Every one doesn’t hanker for power. Even Mrs. Sonia Gandhi… she never took the prime ministership, that is the difference between the family and others.”
If during UPA-II’s tenure, many in the party had wanted Mr. Gandhi to accept a ministerial berth to gain experience — and be held accountable — after the Congress’s ignominious defeat last month, a strongly stated view among both party seniors and Mr. Gandhi’s contemporaries was that if he intends to lead the party, he should become the party leader in the Lok Sabha, lead from the front and take on the ruling BJP on the floor of Parliament.
There is also a widely held view that fixing the organisation is not Mr. Gandhi’s cup of tea. Instead, as one of his contemporaries stressed, he should expand his work among hawkers, fishermen, coolies and the other groups he met in the run-up to the polls, engage with their problems, and possibly induct promising members in the Congress.
By building such a leadership, Mr. Gandhi can actually take forward his aim of building a constituency among those above the poverty line, but below the middle class, this party leader said.