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    Showing posts with label Rahul Gandhi. Show all posts

    Sonia Gandhi's advice to revitalise Congress, counter Modi juggernaut will not be easy for party president Rahul

    If Congress president Rahul Gandhi has to counter the Narendra Modi juggernaut in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he will have to revitalise the party from scratch. That’s the indication UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave on Friday.

    Referring to party’s Steering Committee meeting, she said, “Certainly, Rahul always wanted new and younger people in the party. It’s very valid that without them, how could a party grow? (sic) But he also said that older leaders who, worked for years (in Congress), can’t be ignored.”

    During her interaction at the India Today Conclave, Sonia commented on Rahul’s leadership style after he took over as the new party chief and said that the leadership style doesn’t make much difference. Whether it’s Rahul or any other, Congress has its policies that everyone follows.

    File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI File image of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. PTI
    While emphasising that Congress had to adopt a new style of connecting with people, the former Congress chief said that the need of the hour was to revitalise the party.

    She asserted that older generation leaders couldn’t be done away with and a balance was needed between the younger lot and senior leaders.

    And to revitalise the grand old party of India, Rahul obviously would have to take tough decisions, which might not go down well with the senior leadership.

    Recently, the Congress has faced electoral debacle in three northeastern states — Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. From being in power in 13 states, Congress is reduced to just four now. The party might have tasted victory in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh bypolls, but upcoming elections in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will pose a tough challenge for Rahul’s leadership.

    By emphasising the importance of the old guard and the need to maintain a balance vis-à-vis revitalisation of the party, Sonia has probably placed a handicap before her son.

    A balancing act

    For Rahul, it will be like walking a tight rope to maintain a balance between the young leaders and the old guard, while revitalising the party.

    Many a times it had been a point of debate and discussion that it won’t be palatable for the old guard within the Congress party – who have worked with Rahul’s grand mother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi – to accept the leadership of this Nehru-Gandhi scion.

    While Sonia had always backed the old order, Rahul has often faced difficulty in reining in the senior leaders.

    Sources in the party said that when Rahul was vice-president, he, on many occasions, maintained distance from a few senior leaders, who are apparently close to Sonia Gandhi.

    Gujarat election is a case in point, when senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “neech".

    Rahul was quick to control the damage and asked Aiyar to apologise. Later, Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the party.

    Let’s not forget that Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who was once regarded as Rahul Gandhi’s ‘political guru’, fell out of favour in 2012 after repeatedly going against the party line on issues such as the Batla House encounter in September 2008 against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists.

    Rahul's visit buoys state Cong ranks

    The first visit of All India Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to Telangana has come as a major confidence booster for the state Congress. The huge response has buoyed the party leaders and cadre, especially it was the first major event organized by the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee after the state bifurcation.

    The Congress has not conducted any major event after its debacle in the general election except some rallies against shifting of TB and Chest hospital in the city and power crisis.

    There had been a feeling among the Congress leaders that there was a lull in party activity for the past 11 months and that the cadre needed a fresh dose of enthusiasm. Rahul Gandhi's visit to Adilabad appeared to have done the trick.
    The party members had started making arrangements for Rahul's visit two weeks ago, erecting banners and flexies all along the national highway up to Nirmal and peppering the town with party tri-colour flags and cut-outs of Rahul. Same was the scene along the padayatra route.

    Congress workers and locals waited till well past Thursday midnight in front of the hotel in Nirmal town, where Rahul Gandhi was staying, to try and catch a glimpse of the leader. The police faced a tough time in clearing the gathering in view of the security requirements.

    "The party should conduct such big programmes to take up people's problems and issues at least once in three months. The workers were inactive in the past 11 months and these programmes would definitely boost their morale and confidence," Ramesh Nagul, a farmer from Nirmal said.

    Rahul Gandhi: Modi put Jayanthi Natarajan against me

    Breaking his silence, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said his former party colleague Jayanthi Natarajan had been pitted against him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he had been fighting for the poor and other weaker sections of the society.

    "Ek din maine Modiji ke baare mein kuch kaha, agle din unhone Natrajan ko khada kiya (One day, I said something about Modi, the very next day, he put up Natarajan)," the Congress Vice President said at a rally here. This was his first reaction to Natarajan's allegation that he used to interfere in grant of green nods when she was Environment Minister before being forced out in December 2013. She resigned from the party on Saturday last, reported PTI.
    "I want to tell you that I have fought for the poor and the adivasis and I had told Jayanthi Natarajan that we should look into the welfare of the environment, poor and the adivasis. I will continue to fight for the poor, the hutsmen and the weaker sections," the Congress vice-president said at an election rally here. Alleging that the Prime Minister is working only to benefit his "industrial friends", he said he had joined politics to ensure welfare for the poor and the weaker sections of the society and not to benefit some businessmen.
    Natarajan had last Saturday resigned from the primary membership of Congress alleging that she was "vilified" for rejecting green nod to industrial projects during her tenure as Environment Minister, which she said she had done following communications by the Congress vice-president. She had also written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi a few months back alleging that she had received specific requests from Rahul on environmental clearances and consequently rejected big ticket projects, a contention she reaffirmed at the time of announcing her resignation.

    Rahul Gandhi Logs More Flying Hours Than Anyone Else, Says His Party

    Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni has described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "communicator who has changed the agenda" to avoid delivering on the promises he made in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. (100 Days of Modi Government: His Top 10 Quotes)

    "Mr Modi is a communicator; he plays with words, that's one of his strong points. You saw that from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he changed the agenda. He didn't talk of high prices becoming higher. He talked about girls and boys and how parents should talk strongly to their sons but he didn't talk about the number of cases, where a girl's dignity has been violated, which has gone up," said Ms Soni. (Rate the Government's Performance)

    Like other leaders of her party, Ms Soni too accused the Modi-led government of following UPA's policies. But the former Information and Broadcasting minister on the UPA government admitted that the Congress could not match the BJP-led NDA's campaign strategy.
    "We were not as successful in communicating our achievements as we should have. We realised that during our Lok Sabha campaign. We realise that today much more when we see them using our schemes, changing their names and making different types of allocation and counting it as their own achievement. Our Vice President certainly travels a lot and if you were to count his flying hours, he would out beat anybody," said Ms Soni.

    When asked why the party's top leaders, like vice president Rahul Gandhi, didn't communicate more effectively, Ms Soni came to Mr Gandhi's defense.

    "We have a different way of communicating. It is not necessary that one has to speak only in Parliament. They (Congress leaders) speak in rallies and when they travel to different parts of the country," she said.

    Congress suspends Rajasthan MLA for calling Rahul Gandhi 'MD of circus'

     Rajasthan Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma, who had blamed party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his advisors for 2014 poll debacle has been suspended.

    “Rajasthan Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma suspended from party for attack on Rahul Gandhi,” PCC spokesperson Archana Sharma said on Sunday.

    Terming Rahul as 'MD of a team of jokers' Sharma had critisised him saying that he has neither direction nor any policy.

    Adding that the party was in its worst days because of Rahul, Sharma had suggested that party president Sonia Gandhi should focus on strengthening the grand old party instead of having affection for her son.
    "Rahul Gandhi is directionless and has no policy. He and his advisors are responsible for the party's embarrassment and defeat in elections as there is no huge mass support for him," Sharma has said to the reporters.

    Further hinting towards a leadership change in Congress after a drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Sharma had said that the time has come for the party to think beyond Rahul and Priyanka Vadra.

    Hitting out at Rahul in strongest words, Sharma had said that Rahul was enjoying authority as he belonged to the Gandhi family and he did not enter the party through a democratic process.

    Lok Sabha polls: Rahul Gandhi to address rallies in MP, UP today

    Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is on the Lok Sabha election campaign, will be holding two election rallies on Saturday.

    The Congress's poll campaign chief will be first visiting Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh where he will be interacting with the tribals.

    Later in the day, Rahul will head to Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh where he will be addressing a public meeting.

    Shiv Sena supports Rahul Gandhi over ISI remark

     Though Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is facing flak for his statement that Pakistani secret agency ISI was in touch with victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots, he has received support from unexpected quarters — the Shiv Sena.

    On Monday, Sena mouthpiece Saamna, which is edited by party president Uddhav Thackeray, said Rahul, whose statements were mostly “laughable”, had “unknowingly spoken the truth”.

    “There is no need to be shocked about the truth the Yuvaraj has spoken about the fundamentalist Muslims in the country,” said an editorial in the newspaper, adding that, earlier, Hindutva leaders like the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had also pointed to ISI activities in India.

    The editorial said that the ISI’s involvement was seen in every communal riot and terrorist activity in India and that it was also involved in turning Muslim youth into fundamentalists and using them for anti-national activities.

    It pointed to examples such as the Memon brothers and their involvement in the Mumbai bomb blasts and added that terrorists Abdul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal were ISI affiliates.

    “The ISI’s agents here undertake more machinations than fake secularists like the Congress and the SP (Samajwadi Party) to ensure that Muslims do not join the mainstream in the country,” the editorial said, adding that the ISI wanted another partition of India on religious grounds.

    It rued that political strategies hinged on ensuring that Muslims became more fundamentalist and insecure.

    Rahul Gandhi: He came, he saw, was Conquered

    Rahul Gandhi owned up to the Congress debacle in Uttar Pradesh but promised to stay the course in the state for the party's revival.

    "I led the campaign from the front, I take the responsibility," he said in a press appearance outside 10, Janpath on Tuesday evening. He stepped forward to take responsibility for the loss amid a scramble among Congressmen to insulate him from any blame for the UP humiliation. The ring-fencing had started no sooner had the results confirmed that Samajwadi Party had swept the state and Congress had come a poor fourth.

    Rahul blamed the decimation on the "party's weak fundamentals" in UP and conceded the weakness would continue till the organization was strengthened. Complimenting Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav, the Congress heir apparent said the mood was clearly for the main opposition party.

    He, however, added that the defeat would not lessen his interest in UP. "I promised the people of UP that I will be seen with the poor, on the roads and fields. My work will continue. My efforts will be to re-erect the Congress in UP."

    Rahul's brave decision to face the cameras came amid mounting criticism that the party was trying to shield him from the responsibility of defeat. The implications of the UP debacle can be serious for Rahul's fledgling political career as the party positions him for the top job at the Centre in 2014 elections.

    While the young leader made a mark in the 2009 polls, carving out a niche "youth factor" among the electorate, it has been a rough ride for him since. His mission of reviving Congress in the Hindi heartland suffered a setback when Congress was trounced in Bihar despite him leading the charge. A similar fate in UP threatens to dilute the belief in his leadership and charisma. His bold experiments with party nominations also bombed in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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