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'Berkeley could mark new beginning both for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress'

Rahul Gandhi admitted that PM Modi is 'probably much better than me'

Business Standard 

Rahul Gandhi
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. Photo: Twitter (@INCIndia)

It could be a new start

spoke plainly during his address at the University of California in That he talked about the revival of the Kashmir problem, violence creeping into society, the killing of independent journalists, the ill-effects of demonetisation and the lack of jobs angered the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Union minister Smriti Irani came to the BJP’s defence. She seems to have forgotten that blunders committed by the government have infused new life into Gandhi’s flagging political career. He even praised the initiatives of Make in India and Swachh Bharat. He also praised Modi for his communication skills and admitted that the latter is “probably much better than me”.

could mark a new beginning both for Gandhi and the Congress, provided he snaps out of his erratic approach to public and party responsibilities.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Big opportunity

With reference to Ajai Shukla’s article, “Build that carrier, quick!” (September 13), the proposed building of INS Vishal, the indigenous, nuclear-powered 65,000-ton aircraft carrier, would be the most important national defence project till date, and should be accorded the highest priority.
India missed a golden opportunity four years ago to partner with France and UK in building a similar class of aircraft carrier called the Queen Elizabeth class. It would have halved delivery time and costs. At that time, we did not have a political leadership with foresight and sagacity like that of P V Narasimha Rao, who, in 1991, signed a deal with Russia to jointly finance and develop the Sukhoi MKI Cobra air-superiority fighter, for which deliveries to India started in 1997. The first Elizabeth class nuclear aircraft carrier joined the Royal Navy this year and would be fully battle-ready by 2019. 

Since the Vishal project has to start from scratch and may take 15 years, it should be handled by a separate shipyard, preferably located on India’s eastern seaboard. To save time and costs, Cochin Shipyard, which is completing the 40,000-ton aircraft carrier New Vikrant, should get repeat orders for two more such ships, as it has mastered this complex technology.

J K Achuthan, Thiruvananthapuram

Look beyond dynasty

Congress Vice-President made some candid observations during his address at the University of California. He admitted that he was a beneficiary of the dynastic succession in the Congress, but that the person chosen to lead the party should be picked on the basis of ability.
Gandhi’s next logical step would be to introspect if he measures up to the requirements of the position. Power and position were bestowed on him as member of Parliament in 2004 and as Congress vice-president in 2013. He and his mother, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, held the reins to the United Progressive Alliance government for 10 years. But the party could not regain power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections — it was not able to claim even 10 per cent of the seats to become the main Opposition party.

Subsequently, the party lost power in almost all the states where it was ruling earlier and posted dismal results in the Assembly polls of states such as Uttar Pradesh. The party is now in tatters and its only contribution to debates is through spokespersons such as Digvijaya Singh.

Gandhi lacks the attributes of a good leader such as courage, conviction, the ability to influence people and decisions, depth of knowledge, drive and energy, persistence and communication skills. 

The Congress has several capable leaders, so it would not be a problem to select the right successor to Sonia Gandhi. The country needs an alert Opposition to strengthen the democracy. The Congress can be rejuvenated by a competent president, who is not from the dynasty.

Y G Chouksey, Pune

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First Published: Wed, September 13 2017. 23:39 IST