What Rahul can't do, Priyanka does: Sam Pitroda

Last Updated: Sun, Apr 06, 2014 04:57 hrs

Sam Pitroda, an advisor to the Congress and technocrat, tells Aditi Phadnis why India needs the Congress. Edited excerpts:

A senior Congressman (Janardan Dwivedi) is on record saying he was told by Rajiv Gandhi that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was interested in politics even when she was a very young woman. Does it mean setting the stage for a bigger role for Priyanka?

Isn't that for Priyanka to decide?

There is her brother, slogging away in the field, and then there are people saying she should also come in. Isn't this admission of Rahul's inadequacies?

As far as I know, Rahul has been asking her to play a bigger role, to speak. She's the one who is holding back.

You have to understand that there are a lot of insecure people around.

The brother and the sister work as a team. What Rahul can't do, Priyanka does. She has a big role, bigger than you can imagine, in his campaign and her mother's. She's like his chief of staff, the chef de mission…

Rahul shines as a person who is defying the current environment. Today, Indian democracy needs people who are giving, not people who are taking. The other day a young man came to me. 'I can give my life for India,' he said. Then he came down to brass tacks: "I'm also looking for a job," he said. Every young man thinks he can come out of college and join politics and he's got it made: It's a lifetime of leisure and money. You have to become something to do something. Rahul Gandhi has studied well, he is part of a family…

Exactly. He's part of a family…

I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that the family is very important to our party. It has given up a lot for the country and the party…

He is an idealist. He wants to build the party. It is a party of many views. Rajiv also talked of building the party in the Mumbai session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). Rahul wants to actualise those ideas. What's wrong with that?

Nothing except that people in the party seem to want to undermine that effort…

I don't bother about such people. When he talks about systemic changes, about processes, he is talking about linking the party to a new India.

And, if these ideas lead to electoral defeat?

If that's what the verdict is, we have to deal with it. What is up goes down. What is down goes up…

So, what kind of leader of opposition will he make?

India is at a tipping point. Fortunately, the technology of today, the new avenues of connecting with society represent a unique opportunity to solve problems differently. We are very lucky to be living in this era. India has eradicated polio. It has achieved 8 per cent growth over eight years. There are 900 million phones in this country today. Without growth we cannot tackle poverty. We need to create jobs, we have to work together. This should be the concern of the Congress; not whether Priyanka is joining politics or not.

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