Rahul's photo may adorn Congress headquarters

Congress party sees nothing wrong in Rahul's framed photograph joining a pantheon that includes Indira Gandhi.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2006 18:37 IST

India's ruling Congress party sees nothing wrong in Rahul Gandhi's framed photograph joining a pantheon that includes Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. After its Delhi unit, Rahul's photo is now going to adorn the party's national headquarters here.

"Why not?" quizzed Congress secretary Tom Vadakkan when asked if the party headquarters would also put up Rahul's picture on its walls following the lines of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC).

"Rahulji is our leader. There is nothing wrong in putting his picture on the walls of our party office," Vadakkan said, referring to the All India Congress Committee headquarters at 24, Akbar Road.

Critics may frown upon the act of elevating the first-time MP's photograph with those of its top leaders as sycophancy. To Congress veterans, nonetheless, it is the perfectly right thing to do.

"He is the icon of our youth. He is the icon of the country," said senior MP and Congress Working Committee member BK Hariprasad.

Agrees Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi: "Rahul symbolises the emerging India. He is the young representative of a family that enjoys wider acceptability and affection of all Indians."

"No other family in the country enjoys such credibility in the country. So what's wrong in projecting him?" asked Ravi.

There are others in the party who feel otherwise. But none of them is ready to come on record.

Said a Congress leader: "I am not surprised at all. Our party is infamous for its sycophancy. Congressmen think that their loyalty to party means loyalty to the Gandhi family.

"I do not think this is something Rahul or Soniaji wanted. The leaders are vying with each other to show off their loyalty," the leader remarked.

There are other points of views.

Madhu Gowd Yaskhi, a Congress MP, told IANS over telephone from London: "We have many to represent the elderly in our society, but only Rahul to reflect the aspirations of the young Indians."

Although Rahul, who was working as a financial consultant in London before he contested the 2004 parliamentary elections, had been projected as the generation next leader of the Congress, the 36-year-old Lok Sabha MP's work has so far been confined to his constituency of Amethi besides Rae Bareli, his mother Sonia Gandhi's constituency.

Both Amethi and Rae Bareli are traditional Gandhi family bastions located in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress units across the country have been pleading with Rahul to take up more responsibilities. Some want him to be a general secretary. But Rahul appears reluctant to do so.

However, at the recently held Congress chief ministers' conclave in Nainital, Sonia Gandhi had indicated that Rahul would lead the party in the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress leaders appear to be in a mood to wait for long for Rahul's entry into the national arena. "Sonia Gandhi's popularity is at its peak now. That could be the reason Rahul is just involved in his own work now," Hariprasad said.

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 18:37 IST