This is part III of a trilogy. The first two parts were on Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi.
A host of contradictory strands appear to reside in Rahul Gandhi, easily the most baffling of the Nehru-Gandhis. Most others of note in the family knew where they stood: Motilal, Jawaharlal, Indira, Feroze, Rajiv, Sanjay, Sonia, Maneka and Varun.
With Rahul Gandhi we still don’t. Individual journeys are nobody else’s business. But they become so when a person is in public domain and seeks to shape a country’s politics, laws, and attitudes.
Rahul Gandhi has had ten unchallenged years in parliament. But he was not the most active of MPs. He has had a doting mother. But he has not been the most responsive son; the stimulus provided by a parent has not generated corresponding action.
It is all coming to head now with about 15 weeks to a new government. Does he have the basic traits of a leader? Let’s see how he fares.
1 .Does he know why he wants to lead?
No. He thinks power is poison. He thinks his mother is uncomfortable about his rise in the Congress [the Jaipur 2013 reference to Sonia’s tears]. Yet, he says he will do anything the party asks him to. He seems to see the risky side of the Nehru-Gandhi genes. He sees the rewards too. Rahul Gandhi is unsure. So are we.
2. Does he allow his team to function in an atmosphere of truth and transparency?
Yes. Jairam Ramesh often speaks his mind. Digvijaya Singh has a thought process different from Janardan Dwivedi. The Congress supported an Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi because a general secretary and the Delhi unit thought it appropriate. Mani Shankar Aiyar is not gagged. Priyanka Gandhi does as she pleases. And so on.
Image: Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi during an interaction with the labour leaders, Rehri-Patri union leaders and representatives from the unorganised sector in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)