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I?m not afraid: Rahul

Rahul Gandhi's entry into electoral politics is the arrival of the heir. Or is it?
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON APR 07, 2004 01:43 PM IST

RahulGandhi’s entry into active politics as a candidate in Amethi, a constituency represented by his mother Sonia Gandhi and his father Rajiv Gandhi, is increasingly being  described as the arrival of the heir apparent. Before driving off to Rae Bareli, he spoke to Saroj Nagi. Excerpts from the interview:

Isn’t your entry into politics a sign of dynastic rule?

My father was great. So was my grandmother and my great-grandfather. They did not commit any sin. I don’t think I should be penalised for their achievements and greatness or the good things they did. I want to serve the country.

After what happened to Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, aren’t you afraid of what might happen to you?

No, I’m not afraid. This is a question I had also asked my father. He told me that he had a job to do. I believe in that as well.

Do you see yourself as an heir apparent?

Certainly not. I see myself as an Indian, a person who cares for his country and who is just stepping forward.

How do you feel when Narendra Modi targets you or your mother?

It’s my pleasure to be targeted. But I will not target anyone. If he targets us I know we are on the right track. If he praises us, I’ll know we are not on the right track.

Do such attacks affect you as a person?

I don’t know whether I should be saying this, but what was done to my father [on the Bofors controversy] was very unfair. The media at that time was quite irresponsible. I hope the media are responsible and play a constructive role for India and do not destroy people. I hope I have not said anything I should not be saying.

How about Varun Gandhi who is now in the BJP?

I wish my cousin all the best. I believe one should do what the heart says.

When did you decide to join active politics?

I was deeply affected the day I was taking the ashes of my father to Allahabad by train. In UP, I saw people running along the train. Something clicked inside me — I told myself your father died for the country and you can’t run away. It was a decision to do something for the people who loved my father, who love us so much.

What did you feel when you filed your nomination and saw the crowds thronging around you?

I remembered my papa. It was very emotional. There were lots of people I shook hands with. My hands were bruised. But no, I wasn’t nervous.

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