Rahul an 'empty suit': US cable | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Rahul an 'empty suit': US cable

Rahul Gandhi, tipped to be India's next prime minister, was regarded as an "an empty suit" when he was given his first major political post four years ago, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

delhi Updated: Sep 05, 2011 13:31 IST

Rahul Gandhi, tipped to be India's next prime minister, was regarded as an "an empty suit" when he was given his first major political post four years ago, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul's mother and the president of Congress Party, appointed her son to the post of party general secretary for youth affairs in 2007, a move seen as cementing his position as heir apparent.

A confidential cable from the US embassy, which carried the signature of the then-US ambassador David Mulford, said little was known at the time of the media-shy Rahul's personal politics.

"Rahul is widely viewed as an empty suit and will have to prove wrong those who dismiss him as a lightweight," said the cable, released by the WikiLeaks website.

"To do so he will have to demonstrate determination, depth, savvy and stamina.

"He will need to get his hands dirty in the untidy and ruthless business that is Indian politics," it said.

Gandhi, now 41, still retains the general secretary post, having reportedly turned down the offer of a cabinet position after the Congress Party's victory in 2009 general elections.

Last month, he was named to a four-member panel to run the party's affairs while his mother recovers from surgery for an undisclosed condition.

In the past four years, he has devoted most of his energy to revitalizing the Congress youth wing, and spearheading a number of populist campaigns -- notably championing the plight of poor farmers.

The scion of Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, Rahul is seen as the most likely successor to current prime minister -- 78-year-old Manmohan Singh.

But the US cable warned that Rahul's family name alone was no guarantee of his future political survival.

"Relying solely on family inheritance may get him the top job, but it will not be enough to make for a successful long-term political career in India," it said.