Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday expressed concern over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s leadership abilities, PTI reported.
“There are some questions in this regard,” Pawar said when asked if the country would accept Gandhi as a leader. “There seems to be less consistency.” The NCP chief was responding to questions in an interview with Lokmat Media Chairperson Vijay Darda.
On questions about the Congress leader’s future and if he was a hurdle to the party, Pawar said the leadership of the party would depend on the kind of acceptance the person in question has within the organisation. He maintained that the rank and file of the Congress still have faith in the Nehru-Gandhi family. “Though I had differences with [Congress chief] Sonia Gandhi and the family, even today Congressmen have a sense of affection for the Gandhi-Nehru family,” Pawar said.
When asked about former United States President Barack Obama’s comments on Gandhi, Pawar said that it was not important to accept everyone’s views. “I can say anything about the leadership in our country,” he said. “But I will not talk about the leadership in another country. One should maintain that limit... I think Obama crossed that limit.”
In his recently-released memoir, A Promised Land, Obama said that he thought Gandhi had “a nervous, unformed quality about him” as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was “eager to impress the teacher”. But deep down, Gandhi “lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject”, Obama wrote.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant exuded confidence in Gandhi’s leadership and said that the party was not aware in which context Pawar made these comments, according to The Times of India. “But to be more specific, the Congress and our leader Rahul Gandhi has been more consistent than any other party in its opposition to RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] and the Modi government,” Sawant said.
He added that Gandhi was one of the few people who spoke out against the ruling government in India, especially when it was “muzzling the voice of the opposition, trampling on democratic norms while constitutional institutions are watching helplessly, having lost their independence and credibility”.
During the interview, Pawar also spoke about his daughter and MP Supriya Sule. When asked if she could be the first woman chief minister of Maharashtra, the NCP chief said that Sule was not interested in state politics. He added that there were several leaders in the party such as Ajit Pawar, Dhananjay Munde and Jayant Patil, who could take up that role.
“Ever since she joined politics, she has taken keen interest in national politics, she was won several awards at the national level,” Pawar said.