The Telegraph
Friday , February 1 , 2013
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Uneasy leader

Sir — In his article, “The nervous soldier” (Jan 26), Ramachandra Guha has cited several reasons in support of his contention that appointing Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister of India — in the event of the Congress-led UPA coming to power for a third consecutive term — would not be a wise decision. Rahul Gandhi has recently been appointed the vice president of the Congress — which heightens the chances that he will be chosen as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. However, many senior leaders reportedly believe that this would do more harm than good to the party in the long run. Rahul Gandhi had campaigned extensively in several states, especially in Gujarat, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. However, this did not help his party much, as far as garnering votes in the assembly polls are concerned.

His crusade for the uplift of the underprivileged — dispossessed tribals, farmers and adivasis — did not bolster his party’s reputation in these states either. Even his wooing of the business community did not yield any substantial result. Guha rightly calls Rahul Gandhi a “well-intentioned dilettante”. If he becomes the prime minister then the nation would not be administered by a leader endowed with the requisite qualities of wisdom and maturity.

Yours faithfully,
P.B. Saha, Calcutta

Sir — Ramachandra Guha does not see Rahul Gandhi as an able prime ministerial candidate, taking into account his recent political performance. His attendance in the Parliament sessions is dismal, to say the least. His speeches, both inside Parliament and outside, usually have no impact, and are even laughable at times. While addressing pre-election rallies, Rahul Gandhi has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. For instance, while campaigning for the state assembly polls in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in 2011, he had reportedly made a dig at the Marxist leader, V. S. Achuthanandan, referring to his advancing age. Yet while campaigning in Tamil Nadu, he had urged voters to vote for the Congress ally, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and its supremo, M. Karunanidhi, who is an octogenarian too.

Without mincing words, Guha says clearly that if the Congress “nominates Mr Gandhi as prime minister, the nation shall not be in safe hands”.

Yours faithfully,
Subrata Datta, Calcutta

Sir — Rahul Gandhi does not seem to be adequately prepared to take up the political responsibilities that might be coming his way. His selection as the vice president of the Congress does not seem to be entirely justified. But this appointment comes at a crucial time, when the Lok Sabha polls are knocking at the Congress’s door. Hence it would be good for the party if the scion of the Gandhi family is guided by experienced members of the party. Otherwise, he might bring about another debacle, like the defeat of the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections of 2012.

Yours faithfully,
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta

Sir — In my opinion, the Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi, may become an able administrator — like the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi — in coming years. But at present, he is not fit for the post of India’s prime minister, if one takes into account his dilettantism.

It is true that Rahul Gandhi has initiated a lot of well-meaning projects for the general welfare of the downtrodden. His show of solidarity with the adivasis of Odisha, his mingling with the aam aadmi, his spending a night in a Dalit household and travelling in a local suburban train might be indicators of his noble intentions. But the absence of proper follow-ups on these incidents shows a lack of maturity and resolve on his part. One is not even sure of the development in Amethi, the constituency he heads.

These things clearly reveal that the future leader needs more exposure when it comes to grassroot politics. If the people of this country see Rahul Gandhi as the future prime minister simply because he is young, it indicates that the Indian electorate is rather immature. This country does not necessarily need a young prime minister.

Rather, India needs an able leader with a well-developed sense of responsibility. There are plenty of experienced, able and talented people in the Indian polity — both within the United Progressive Alliance and the National Democratic Alliance — who can do a good job of addressing the problems of the people. Rahul Gandhi needs to spend more time understanding India before he can be considered fit for the job.

Yours faithfully,
Abhirup Sen, Calcutta

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