Political strategist turned activist Prashant Kishor on Saturday termed as "excessive" the two years' imprisonment awarded to Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case and urged the ruling dispensation to show "a big heart" on the Congress leader's disqualification.
Kishor, who is now touring Bihar, his home state, as part of "Jan Suraaj" campaign, also underscored that the Congress did not seem to be well prepared to reach out to the masses with the message that it has been wronged.
"I am not a legal expert but with due respect to the process of law, the sentence awarded to Rahul Gandhi seems to be excessive. In the heat of elections, people say all types of things. This was not the first instance and not going to be the last", asserted the IPAC founder who has, in his professional capacity, worked with many political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
"Two years in prison seems to be excessive for what is essentially a defamation case", said Kishor, adding "I would like to remind the government at the Centre of a famous line by Atal Bihari Vajpayee that nobody becomes great with a petty heart (chhote man se koi bada nahin ban jaata)".
"The ruling dispensation may hide behind technicalities and insist that Rahul Gandhi's disqualification was inevitable, given his conviction. I would still say they should have taken a leaf out of the book of late Vajpayee, their own revered leader and not rushed to disqualify Rahul Gandhi", said Kishor.
"They (the BJP) are in power today. The onus was on them to have shown a big heart. They should have waited for a few days and allowed the aggrieved party to go in appeal and acted only if no relief was in sight", added Kishor, who first shot into limelight with his handling of the spectacularly successful Lok Sabha poll campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
Kishor, who decided to return to his home state and launch "Jan Suraaj" after his proposal to revamp the Congress failed to take off, despite several rounds of talks with the top leadership, also had a word of advice for the grand old party.
"The Congress seems to have little realisation of what it is up against. Its top brass needs to understand that you cannot fight a political battle simply by sitting in Delhi, tweeting furiously and staging marches to the Parliament", he said.
"I would like to share my own experience here, in Marhaura block of Saran district. I am yet to come across a single Congress worker who is meeting people and trying to explain to them how it is being wronged. There are more than one lakh panchayats across the country. I wonder if Congress workers made an effort in any of these", he added.
"Be it the Congress, or any other opposition party, all need to realise that making a buzz with some press conferences and social media presence may be okay but unless they reach out to the villages, they cannot win the political battle (against BJP)", added Kishor.