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It is heartening that after the longest-ever political apprenticeship, Rahul Gandhi has been sworn in as the 87th president of the Indian National Congress. The fifth member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is taking over the reins of the grand old party from his mother, Sonia Gandhi, who led it admirably for 19 long years. Rahul Gandhi bashers may welcome his coronation, but to his well-wishers, the timing has been impeccable.
It is widely expected that he would begin his presidency with two defeats (Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh), as suggested by the exit polls.But political pundits believe he has now become like pure gold because for the past five years the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) top brass and their core strategists have not only been targeting his every move and they successfully built an image of Rahul showing him as a weakling and non-entity. It shows they are worried by the response to him, particularly from the youth of Gujarat. On the eve of his decision to take over as party president, Rahul seems to have benefitted doubly — by joining the game of image-making but, at the same time, being in the limelight thanks to the desperation of his detractors led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As a president of the largest democracy’s grand old party, he should think over former US President Dwight D Eisenhower’s advice: “A leader must take complete responsibility for what the subordinate does — leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that gives wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” Also, one hopes Rahul would not fall in the trap of BJP’s abuse.
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