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'Rahul not a ruler by temperament'

Last updated on: June 28, 2014 20:12 IST

'Rahul not a ruler by temperament'

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A controversy erupted on Saturday as Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said Rahul Gandhi does not have the temperament of a ruler and felt that he should have taken up the responsibility of Leader of the Party in Lok Sabha.

“By temperament, woh sattadhaari vyakti nahin hain. By temperament, woh aisa vyakti hai jo anyay ke khilaph ladna chaahta hai (He is not a ruler by temperament. By temperament he is a person, who wants to fight injustice,” Singh said in an interview to a local news channel of Goa.

He was responding when asked why Rahul Gandhi does not accept responsibility and takes a backseat while handing over the same to others.

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Image: Rahul Gandhi campaigning during the Lok Sabha elections
Photographs: Reuters

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'He is always fighting against injustice, he is not for power'

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To another question as to why Gandhi did not become the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Singh said, “I can say that in a democracy, opposition space is necessary. Since the Congress is the largest opposition group, our Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi should have taken up the responsibility.”

Later, clarifying in Bangalore, he told reporters, “No. I said he is always fighting against injustice and therefore he is not for power. He fights injustice. That is the difference between us and him.”

Responding to a query about his statement being perceived as raising question about Gandhi’s leadership quality, he said, “No no. It is every one doesn’t hanker after power. Even Mrs Sonia Gandhi... she never took the Prime Ministership, that is the difference between the family and others.”

“He is aggressive when it comes to fighting injustice,” Singh said. “He is leading the party,” he said in response to a question.

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Image: Rahul with his mother Sonia. Singh said that the family was not in politics for power but to fight injustice.


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'Of course, Rahul is leading the party'

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In the interview, Digvijaya Singh also said he had suggested that Gandhi should take the responsibility of leader of main opposition party in Lok Sabha, which has been entrusted to Mallikarjun Kharge.

At the same time, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka affairs, said Rahul “is aggressive when it comes to fighting injustice. Of course he is leading the party.” He said Congress has always fought ideological battles in the country “but sometimes what happens is that people do the politics of convenience in the lust for power. This damages Congress.”

On the outcome of the last Lok Sabha elections, Digvijaya Singh said, “We also lost in the communication war and the perception.” He felt that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have been more communicative.

Dismissing suggestions that the party lost due to wrong advisors, he said Manmohan Singh is not accustomed to beating drum about his achievements whereas “Narendra Modi is accomplished in it”.

The Congress leader’s statement came amid analysis within the party over causes of the Lok Sabha debacle and the leadership.

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Image: Rahul Gandhi, leader of India's ruling Congress Party is embraced by a supporter at a rally in New Delhi.
Photographs: Getty Images

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'Rahul has tremendous capacity and energy: Tharoor

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Congress spokesperson Shashi Tharoor, while refraining from making any comment on the merit of Singh’s remarks, said, “Having seen Rahul Gandhi from close quarters, I can say that he has a tremendous capacity and energy.”

Referring to Gandhi’s recent visit to Badaun in Uttar Pradesh after the gang rape incident, he said, “This is the kind of activism you see, when you are in the Opposition.”

All India Congress Committee general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said he was not aware of what all Singh had said. As far as the demand for Rahul Gandhi to become the Leader of the party in Lok Sabha was concerned, all Congress leaders wanted that, he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party used Digvijaya Singh’s comments to ridicule Congress. “If the main cheerleader of the leader of Congress party is casting doubts on his ability, isn’t it a poor reflection on both the cheerleader and the main leader,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.

 


Image: A supporter of Congress wears a mask of leader Rahul Gandhi.
Photographs: Getty Images

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