While there is a raging debate over the prevalence of nepotism in Bollywood and Politics alike, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar has made a strong case for the return of Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi as the president of the Indian National Congress party.
In an exclusive interview with CNN News18, Pawar described the Gandhis as a cementing force of the Congress party, one that acts as a glue to keep the tottering flock of Congress leaders together. “Gandhis are a cementing force for the Congress party and it is high-time Rahul Gandhi is handed over the party leadership,” Sharad Pawar said.
“I have seen the evolution of Congress over last several years. And I want to note one thing. Whether people accept it or not, it is the Gandhis who have kept the party intact. Soniaji succeeded in forging a cohesive Congress unit. Now, Congressmen regard Rahul Gandhi as their leader. While it is their internal matter and up to the rank and file of the party, I believe they should hand over the responsibility of party leadership to him,” Pawar said.
Rahul Gandhi should tour the country and mobilise grassroots workers
The NCP chief also added that Rahul Gandhi should not only take the responsibility of shepherding the country’s oldest political party but he should also take the initiative of holding conversations with the party leaders and bringing them together.
When asked how should Rahul Gandhi assume the role of president of party, Sharad Pawar advised the Wayanad MP to go on a tour across the country and meet with the grassroots workers. According to Pawar, knowing the lay of the land, meeting workers and instilling confidence in them, is critical to the revival of the Congress party which is facing tough headwinds from an agile BJP under the leadership of PM Modi and Amit Shah.
Sharad Pawar advises Rahul Gandhi to avoid making direct attacks on PM Modi
Besides, Sharad Pawar also suggested the Gandhi scion to avoid making ad hominem attack against PM Modi and instead concentrate on resurrecting his party. “Attacking PM Modi might be his personal opinion but we have seen that targeting any particular individual has an adverse impact on your own credibility. It should be avoided,” Pawar added.
Pawar’s endorsement for Rahul Gandhi comes at a time when the Congress party is facing a leadership crisis, with Sonia Gandhi leading the party in her capacity as the interim president after her son resigned from the position following the election debacle in 2019. While there is a groundswell of opinion-forming within the Congress party to once again elect Rahul Gandhi as their leader, the Gandhi scion has, so far, manifestly shied away from taking the responsibility of leading the party once again.
Pawar had left Congress because of Sonia
Sharad Pawar had left Congress in 1999 and started NCP. Speaking to media in the past instances, he had told that he had left Congress because of Sonia Gandhi. He had added that he had left Congress because Sonia wanted to be PM in 1999 after bringing down the Vajpayee government.
In 1999, when Sonia had assumed the leadership role in Congress, Pawar, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar were the most prominent senior leaders who had openly opposed the idea of a foreign born person taking over the party and becoming the PM candidate.