Rahul Gandhi challenges dynastic politics

Scion of Congress’ first family talks of empowerment and inclusiveness, insisting party will win upcoming vote.

Rahul Gandhi is the vice-president of the Congress that is led by his mother Sonia [AP]

In his first televised interview, Rahul Gandhi, Congress party’s vice-president and chief campaigner, predicted a win for his party in the forthcoming general elections, accused BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of abetting the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, and said he was against dynastic politics.

In an interview to Times Now channel on Monday, Gandhi spoke in general terms of “empowerment” of women, inclusiveness and to “change the system which is unfair to our people” and dismissed pertinent questions on accusations of corruptions and scams during the Congress’ regime.

“Unfairness makes my blood boil”, he said. Focus must be on “development programmes”, attempts to “change the system” and not “superficial” issues, he said.

He did not offer a straight answer when asked if he would render an apology to the Sikhs, who suffered in riots following his grandmother Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984.

It was different from what happened in the anti-Muslim riots of Gujarat in 2002 when the government “supported” the riots, while the Congress party had “tried to stop”the  riots in 1984, he said.

He said he was “against dynastic politics” but “I did not choose to be born in this family”.

Gandhi is the scion of the Congress’ first family. His great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, grandmother Indira and father Rajiv Gandhi were all prime ministers.

Unafraid to fight

Gandhi did not agree to a face-on confrontation with Modi, in what the Indian media terms a “presidential-style” campaign, in the forthcoming elections.

“I have seen my grandmother die, I have seen my father die… there is absolutely nothing I am scared of”, he said. 

Recent opinion polls have indicated a win for the BJP with the Congress losing more than half its seats. 

Gandhi said “I will win the elections” but would accept responsibility if the party lost.

Political analysts and media called Rahul Gandhi’s TV interview “unimpressive”.

Senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan said Gandhi was “floundering” over “tough questions”.

Gandhi’s interview “would have disappointed his supporters”, according to The Hindu newspaper.

Source: Al Jazeera