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‘Ideally we hope to see Rahul as PM’

How do you as a veteran Congress leader view the elevation of Rahul Gandhi to the post of party vice-president, announced during the AICC meet in Jaipur?

I must say that Rahul Gandhi really deserves the position that he has been elevated to. Earlier he had refused to enter the government despite the many requests made, even by the prime minister. He had chosen to remain true to the cause of strengthening the Congress party. He has now totally re-energised the National Student Union of India (NSUI) and the Youth Congress which is totally laudable and I feel this is a truly  well-deserved elevation for him.


Is Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to this post being perceived as a threat by the senior leaders?

The Congress party always believes in combining the wisdom of senior  leaders and the energy of the youth. So I think there is nothing to be vary about. We are all for the strengthening of the party and we believe that a strong Congress party boards well to making India strong.


Do you think Rahul’s appointment as the party’s vice-president is a precursor to his being nominated as the next PM candidate?


Ideally, we hope to see Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister of India, but that is not something that we would want to discuss as of now. We believe in talking about a prime-ministerial candidate only after an election.


What about the constant comparison of Rahul to Narendra Modi as possible PM candidates?


I wouldn’t want to do that. Congress reflects an ideology, a continuity and it has a  history which is reflected in our leadership whether it is – Sonia Gandhiji, Manmohan Singhji or even Rahul Gandhiji. We stand towards strengthening that ideology we stand to implement those good intention that we have. We are confident we will be able to do that under Rahulji’s vision.


How was your experience at the recently concluded Chintan Shivir in Jaipur?


Just like previous Chintan Shivirs, this too was a very good experience. The other one which I attended was in Shimla in 2003 when the Congress was not in power. We have been in power since 2004 and it has been a similar experience.
 
The discussions have been just as intense. As a party with a a nationwide presence with a broader and secular outlook focusing on the welfare of the nation, the Congress’s discussions take place in a very positive light. The suggestions are taken and accepted with a very open mind.


Tell us about the participation of youth leaders during this conclave?

What makes this session special is the active participation in large numbers of the youth congress and NSUI candidates who are getting elected democratically.  They have also voiced their opinions quite well during this Chintan Shivir which is a good development. The youth have also found place in the recommendations which were made by them during the meetings in each sub-group. These leaders have also expressed the aspirations of the younger  generation which is in very positive light.


Should more such Chintan Shivirs be held frequently?

We do hold meetings whenever we feel it is essential. There have been talks which have emerged in the party that we should introspect now and see what are the changes that can be made in the party.


What is your view on the Jaipur declaration which has come out of this meet?


It is a very well researched document. In these five forums everyone has expressed their thoughts well, including the youth Congress members and NSUI leaders. This has been an ongoing exercise  and has been very timely.
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