Pranab Mukherjee, a former President of India, expressed disappointment at Rahul Gandhi’s frequent disappearances, particularly during crucial times for the Indian National Congress party. He specifically mentioned an incident where Rahul was absent at the flag hoisting ceremony at Congress headquarters on December 28, 2014, the party’s Foundation Day months after the Lok Sabha defeat.
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Perception Battle and Lack of Charisma
Pranab noted that Rahul’s frequent disappearing acts were causing him to lose the perception battle. He also expressed concern about Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to position Rahul as her successor, stating that the young leader’s lack of charisma and political understanding was creating a problem. Pranab questioned whether Rahul has the ability to revive Congress and inspire people. He questioned the value Rahul placed on the opportunities that came easily to him. These sentiments were shared in Pranab’s diary entries, reflecting his concerns about the party’s future under Rahul’s leadership.
Early References and Political Maturity
Pranab’s diary entries also revealed early references to Rahul, indicating that the former President had been observing the young leader’s political journey for a significant period. Noting an instance from January 29, 2009, Pranab highlighted an incident where Rahul vehemently spoke against coalition during a Congress Working Committee meeting. Pranab advised Rahul to elaborate on his ideas and logically present them. While describing Rahul as courteous and inquisitive, Pranab felt that Rahul was yet to mature politically. He observed that Rahul had a wide range of interests but tended to move quickly from one subject to another, raising doubts about how much he absorbed from his interactions.
Ordinance Objection and Political Drama
Pranab’s diary entries also addressed Rahul’s objection to an ordinance that allowed convicted lawmakers to remain in their positions as MPs and MLAs. While Pranab was in agreement with Rahul’s objection in principle, he was aghast at the manner in which Rahul acted. In one incident, Pranab reacted strongly to Rahul’s actions during a press conference, expressing concern about the implications and effects on the Prime Minister and the government. Subsequently, when confronted with the defense of Rahul’s supporters, who claimed that he had to resort to dramatic actions because he could not convince his party, Pranab expressed doubt about Rahul’s suitability for politics. This incident led to a shaken faith in Rahul’s abilities, as stated by Sharmishta, who believed that Pranab’s trust in Rahul was impacted.
Pranab Mukherjee’s diary entries provide insights into his observations and concerns about Rahul Gandhi’s leadership within the Indian National Congress party. His reflections on Rahul’s charisma, political maturity, and actions indicate a deep sense of apprehension about the party’s future under Rahul’s leadership. These revelations offer a unique perspective on the internal dynamics of the political landscape in India, highlighting the complexities and challenges faced by prominent political figures.