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IndiaRahul Gandhi should step aside if Congress does not get desired poll...

Rahul Gandhi should step aside if Congress does not get desired poll results: Prashant Kishor

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New Delhi, Apr 7: Political strategist Prashant Kishor has suggested that Rahul Gandhi should consider stepping back if the Congress does not get the desired results in the Lok Sabha polls.

In an interaction with PTI editors, he said Gandhi, for all practical purposes, is running his party and has been unable to either step aside or let somebody else steer the Congress despite his inability to deliver in the last 10 years.

“This according to me is also anti-democratic,” said Kishor, who had prepared a revival plan for the opposition party but walked out due to the disagreements between him and its leadership over the execution of his strategy.

“When you are doing the same work for the last 10 years without any success, then there is no harm in taking a break… You should allow someone else to do it for five years. Your mother did it,” he said, recalling Sonia Gandhi's decision to keep away from following her husband Rajiv Gandhi's assassination and let P V Narasimha Rao take charge in 1991.

A key attribute of good leaders the over is that they know what they lack and actively look to fill those gaps, he said.

“But it seems to Rahul Gandhi that he knows everything. Nobody can help you if you do not recognise the need for help. He believes he needs someone who can execute what he thinks is right. It is not possible,” Kishor said.

Citing Gandhi's decision to resign as the Congress president following the party's drubbing in the 2019 polls, he said the Wayanad MP had then written that he would step back and let somebody else do the job. But, in effect, he has been doing contrary to what he had written, he added.

Many Congress leaders will admit privately that they cannot take any decision in the party, even about a single seat or seat sharing with alliance partners “unless they get the approval from xyz,” he said, referring to their need to defer to Rahul Gandhi.

However, a section of Congress leaders also privately say the situation is in fact the opposite and Rahul Gandhi does not take decisions, which they wish he would.

Kishore said the Congress and its supporters are bigger than any individual and Gandhi should not be stubborn that it must be him who will deliver for the party despite repeated failures.

Questioning the former Congress president's contention that his party has been facing poll setbacks because institutions like the Election Commission, judiciary and the media have been compromised, he said this may be partly true but is not the complete truth.

The Congress, he noted, was reduced from 206 seats to 44 in the 2014 polls when it was in power and the BJP had little influence over various institutions.

The ace strategist, who has been associated with successful poll campaigns of several major parties, however, emphasised that the main opposition party suffers from “structural” flaws in its functioning and addressing them is essential for its success.

The Congress has been in a secular decline since 1984 in terms of its vote share and Lok Sabha and assembly seats and this is not about individuals, he said.

Asked about his view on the claims that the party is in a terminal decline, Kishor refuted such a claim saying those saying so do not understand the country's politics. Such an assertion is nothing more than solganeering, he said.

“The Congress should not be merely seen as a party. The space it represents in the country can never be finished off. It is not possible. The Congress has evolved and reincarnated itself several times in its history,” he said.

The last time it did so was when Sonia Gandhi took over and plotted its return to power in the 2004 polls, he added.

Asked about what went wrong after he was roped in by the party for its revival plan, he said the Congress wanted an Empowered Action Group, which is not its constitutional body, to implement his plans and he did not agree with the proposal.

How an EAG can reform its constitutional body like the Congress Working Committee, he said. It is like a PA's office working on a plan to reform the chairperson's functioning, he added.

Though the Congress did form an EAG, he noted, and asked if anyone knows what it has done.

Kishor ruled out the possibility of the Aam Aadmi Party, which has become a party after tasting successes to varying degrees in different states, taking up the space of the Congress and replicating its Delhi model in other states.

“There is no such possibility. Its weakness that I see is that it has no ideological or institutional rooting,” he said.

To a question about the BJP's charge of “parivarwaad” (family rule) against the Congress and several regional parties, he acknowledged that the issue does have traction among people.

Becoming a leader because of one's surname might have been an advantage in the post-independence era but is a liability now, he said.

“Be it Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav or Tejashwi Yadav. Their respective parties may have accepted them as their leader but people have not. Has Akhilesh Yadav been able to lead Samajwadi Party to victory,” he asked.

He, though, added that the BJP has not had to deal with the issue because they have acquired power recently, and the pressure to give positions to family members of its leaders will come now.

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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