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21 July 2012

No minority leader of Maulana Azad’s stature in Cong: Rahul to partymen

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By D K Singh

New Delhi: In what appeared to be a candid admission of the party’s failure to develop minority community leaders, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad the party has not had any minority leader of national stature.

“Name five leaders who have pan-India presence today,” Rahul is learnt to have asked a gathering of Muslim Youth Congress leaders on Monday. When some among the audience named Ghulam Nabi Azad and Salman Khurshid, Rahul dismissed their suggestions saying that Muslims in, say, Andhra Pradesh, will not identify themselves with these leaders.

“We do not even even have five (Muslim) leaders who have pan-India appeal from Kashmir to Kerala,” a Youth Congress leader, who attended the training session at the Vishwa Yuva Kendra, quoted Rahul as saying.

“After Maulana Azad, we have not had a leader with a national stature,” he reportedly said, reminding the audience that at AICC sessions during the Independence movement, there used to be portraits of 30-40 leaders who had the calibre to become the Prime Minister. “We do not have leaders of that stature today,” he reportedly said.

Rahul was said to have added that he will be satisfied if even 10 leaders of national stature emerge from the younger generation.

When contacted, Youth Congress secretary Jitendra Baghel, who was at the meeting, refused to comment, saying the discussions at the training sessions could not be made public.

When asked about Rahul’s views that there has not been a Muslim leader with pan-India presence since the days of Maulana Azad, Khushtar Mirza, who also participated in the training workshop, told The Indian Express, “That was Rahulji’s opinion. We cannot comment on it. We have to become national leaders and we will work hard for this.”

Sources in the IYC sought to play it down, saying that Rahul had made similar observations concerning Dalit and tribal leadership at other IYC workshops in the past. “Can you dispute his conclusion? Do you consider Ghulam Nabi Azad or Salman Khurshid national leaders?” said a senior IYC office-bearer.

Senior Congress leaders agreed to Rahul’s views, but had their own take on this issue. “Who do you blame if such leaders have not emerged? It is the responsibility of the party leadership to promote and project mass leaders. Instead, we do just the opposite,” said a Congress functionary.

In a separate development, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday sought to address the growing clamour about giving a larger role to Rahul in the organisation. “No one can take a decision on his behalf. He has to take a decision,” she said in Parliament House.

(Courtesy: The Indian Express)

1 comment:

  1. There is a piece at IMO, Indian Muslim observer, where I wrote, "Can a Muslim become the PM of India," Rahul is right, we need Muslims whose of Azad's stature indeed.

    ReplyDelete