Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan says government experience is viewed as important in some quarters, but he does not know if Rahul Gandhi joining the government after 2009 elections would have been better for Congress' prospects in the Lok Sabha polls.
Asked if Rahul should have joined the government earlier as it would have been beneficial to the party, Chavan told PTI in an interview, "Well, some people feel that to get a government experience is important. Otherwise we tend to think like an non-governmental organisation from outside.
"There are compulsions of running a coalition government. There are compulsions of addressing conflicting aspirations of different sections of society," he said.
The senior Congress leader's views came in the backdrop of Union minister Milind Deora's recent statement that if Rahul had joined the United Progressive Alliance government in 2009, it would have made a big difference to the fortunes of the party.
"So, when you sit in the government and try to analyse a question from all sides, with all the expert help that is available to you, you begin to understand the complexity of a problem which you cannot understand if you are outside the government or not in the decision making process," Chavan said.
"The other view is that Rahul has always said that he wanted to build the party organisation. He always wanted to understand the country. He has toured extensively. So, there are two different points of view. Both have merit. I don't know which one would have been better," he said.
"I don't have the advantage of comparing the other system. He could have become a minister. Indira Gandhi did become a minister without portfolio in the Lal Bahadur Shastri government for some time. But on the other hand, Rajiv Gandhi became the PM right away," Chavan said.
"We have both the examples, from within the Congress party," Chavan said. "Rahul has been working very hard in these elections. He has addressed many meetings and will address many more meetings. He has brought the party together cohesively," he said.
"People look up to him, to a younger face. It goes without saying that a younger leadership will have to take over. In every country, the young leadership is taking over," he said. "Among the leadership of the Congress party, Rahul is a dynamic leader. He is somebody who can inspire confidence. Therefore, people are flocking to his meetings. I think he is making an impact wherever he has gone," Chavan said.
On BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, Chavan said, "One must admit that Mr Modi took an initial lead... He used a different technique of massive pumping in of funding and saturation of electronic media and also effective use of social media for spreading negative stories."
"This was without any supervision of the Election Commission, because we still don't know how to control social media," he said.
"So anything which cannot be published in print media or shown on TV is being pushed through social media as a strategy. The country will have to grapple with it. That's a technique he has used effectively with foreign consultants and foreign technology. We were slow to react," he said.
"The Congress was compelled to react as the entire discourse was on personalities," Chavan said.