Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday came under fire from a Samajwadi party leader who raised questions on his ability to lead the country just days after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav wanted the Congress leader to assume bigger responsibility soon.
The AICC general secretary also came under fire from the opposition BJP which said it is time he expressed views on crucial issues like the coal mines allocation scam or the 2G spectrum controversy and wondered if he is not 'fit' for a bigger role at 42 how can he be so at the age of 52.
Mohan Singh, the general secretary of SP, an outside supporter of UPA, said Rahul has shown little to prove that he can lead politically and that the country's future would be safe in his hands.
"Since the last one and half to two years, the country has faced several challenges, so many issues have come up, but I have not heard any serious opinion on these from him (Rahul Gandhi)," Singh told a news conference in Kolkata.
"So, how can I say that the future of the country will remain safe in the hands of Rahul Gandhi?" he said when asked on the role he would like for the Gandhi family scion.
"Because he comes from such a big family, there is a feeling that Rahul Gandhi can tackle the issues facing the country," he said. "But if you ask me, I have not seen anything so far to suggest that."
Akhilesh on Sunday said the Congress should not delay its decision on giving a larger role to Rahul in the party and government.
Asked pointedly whether Rahul will make a good prime minister, Akhilesh said, "The young should get larger role. He (Rahul) should get an opportunity. He should assume bigger responsibility as soon as possible. The whole country is waiting... But at the end, it's a decision of the Congress."
AICC spokesperson Rashid Alvi condemned Mohan Singh's remarks while Congress leader and Union minister Kapil Sibal said, "We never respond to these individual coments."
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said "The truth is in the last eight years, we have not heard Rahul Gandhi speak."
"Occasionally, he has read out statements here and there. We have not heard him speak about corruption, price rise and poverty.... That may have led to the assessment that he does not exist. That brand Rahul does not exist," he said in Delhi.