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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Rahul Gandhi: the political insider and outsider

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 04, 2012
First Published: 23:39 IST(4/11/2012) | Last Updated: 15:42 IST(5/11/2012)

A strong votary of intra-party democracy and cleansing politics, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Sunday once again touched upon his favourite subject of opening up the “closed political system” to the common man.

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In his speeches across the country, 42-year-old Rahul, who is expected to assume a bigger role — formally the number 2— in the party soon, has called for bringing a change in the country's political system.

Experts have said Rahul has throughout emphasised the need to change the political structure and has encouraged youth to enter politics.

"He has positioned himself both as an insider and outsider in the party - insider for taking credit for contributions of party and government, and outsider for taking a strong stand against the system,” political analyst Zoya Hasan said.

These subjects dominated Rahul's 15-minute speech in Hindi at Sunday's 'maha' rally in Delhi's Ramlila Ground.

"India's biggest problem is that the doors of its political system are closed to aam aadmi. Till the common man and youth from underprivileged background come into politics, change cannot happen," he said.

Rahul made a rare appearance on the same stage as Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the public meeting and was the first speaker among the trio at the rally.

There is intense speculation over Rahul’s future role in the party. At the rally, two chief ministers -- Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Haryana) and Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) - demanded a larger role for him in the party.

Hasan said the rally was an effort by the party to position Rahul as one of its key leaders. “That is the big picture,” she said.

Rahul strongly defended the UPA's economic reforms and lashed out at the BJP for opposing FDI in retail after having initiated the move.

He said the Congress had showed great solidarity with the BJP government during the 1999 Kargil war, a statement that drew flak from the opposition.


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