'I don't think Rahul will make it'You were very involved in the Janata Party and Jayprakash Narayan's movement during the Emergency period. Do you think if JP had moved to Delhi, as a mentor, the government could have lasted longer?
Yes, I personally think so. If his health had been good, I think so.
Since the Congress came back, there's been a system of hereditary politics, with the argument that people are being groomed for roles. What is your stance on this?
Dynastic politics is a bad practice, because it kills merit. Now, it's not only that family, it's all over the country – you have Mulayam Singh's family, you have the Karunanidhi family, Badal's family.
You've analysed Sonia Gandhi's decision not to become Prime Minister in 2004, though she had wanted to the previous time. Was it to pave way for Rahul Gandhi that she stepped down, do you think?
Yes, and I do say so in the book. She thought it would be embarrassing if she was the Prime Minister, and then Rahul. If she was governing from the outside, she thought Rahul would have a better chance. Though I don't think Rahul will make it.
I wanted to mention this in the book: I once wrote that Rahul should read some books. So, a telephone call came from the house, asking, ''Which books should he read?” So I said, ''At least his great-grandfather's – Nehru's – books!” (Laughs)
Why do you think Priyanka was left out of the dynastic politics? You seem to feel she is more capable than her brother.
Yes. You see, even in Italy, I believe the son is considered superior to the daughter. And the same thing holds here – the son is a son. They're very careful about the Gandhi name, na?
In Picture: Rahul Gandhi gets a little help from his mother, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadhera as he files his papers to contest the parliamentary elections in Sultanpur on 5 April 2004
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