Stalin, Rajini urge Rahul Gandhi not to quit as Congress president
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin and veteran actor and aspiring politician Rajinikanth on Tuesday urged Congress president Rahul Gandhi not to resign as the party chief following the electoral setback in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.
After the Lok Sabha election results were declared, the Congress’s major ally and DMK leader Stalin who had proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name as Prime Minister in case the UPA came to power, spoke with the Congress president over the phone.
“DMK president Stalin has spoken with Rahul Gandhi over the phone. During the conversation, Stalin asked Rahul not to resign from the Congress president’s post,” the DMK said in a statement.
Stalin further pointed out that Rahul had won the hearts of the people, according to the release.
“Though your party has failed in consolidating votes, you have won the hearts of Indians. So, you should give up the idea of resigning from the Congress president’s post,” Stalin said to Rahul Gandhi, according to the DMK.
Stalin, apparently, also spoke to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The DMK, however, did not say what Rahul’s response was to Stalin’s request.
Veteran actor Rajinikanth also asked Rahul Gandhi not to step down from the post of the Congress president. “Rahul should stand firm. He should prove that he can do anything. Also, a strong opposition is necessary for a democratic country. So, I request Rahul to lead a strong opposition,” Rajinikanth told the media.
He further said that non-coordination within the Congress party was the reason for their defeat.
“I won’t say Rahul lacks in leadership. The Congress party is a big and age-old party. Plenty of senior office bearers are there in the party. As a youngster, it is difficult to handle senior leaders. When I saw the results, I observed that many seniors in the party have not (fully) cooperated (with) Rahul. I also feel that they have not worked well,” Rajinikanth said.
S Vijayadharani, Congress MLA from Vilavancode assembly seat in Tamil Nadu and national Mahila Congress General Secretary concurred with Rajinikanth’s assessment for Congress’s dismal performance.
“I agree with Rajinikanth. Rahul Gandhi has the ability to lead the party. But, the seniors are putting hurdles in the way of the party’s empowerment. Senior leaders should co-operate with Rahul to revive the party. They should not pressurize him to get party posts and seats for them and their family members. Fresh blood should be infused into the Congress party. For instance in the BJP, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have given way to their juniors. Therefore, the BJP has done well,” she told HT.
Speaking about the BJP’s failure to register success in Tamil Nadu, Rajinikanth said unlike in the north, there was an anti-Modi wave in Tamil Nadu.
“Though the other parts of India witnessed a pro-Modi wave, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh results have shown an anti-Modi wave in their region. Due to NEET, hydrocarbon extraction issue, Thoothukkudi police firing incident and of course because of the opposition’s power-packed campaigns, the anti-Modi mindset was high in Tamil Nadu. So, the opposition have swept the seats,” Rajinikanth said.
The actor-cum-politician also praised his celluloid rival and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan for garnering around 4% of the vote share.
“It is not too easy to get some 4% votes within 14 months of launching the party. I congratulate my friend Kamal for achieving this,” Rajinikanth said.
Speaking about his own political plans, he said that he had already announced that he would enter the political fray when the assembly elections are announced in Tamil Nadu.
Rajinikanth who announced his political entry on December 31, 2017, is likely to convert his Rajini Fans Association called Rajini Makkal Mandram into a political party before the Assembly elections in the state.