Rahul Gandhi has dismissed erstwhile colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia’s complaint that he never took his calls, saying: “He was a friend of mine. He could walk into my house any time”. Sadly, that has not always been the case. Former Congress leader Natwar Singh in an interview to news channel NewsX pointed out that even the late Sheila Dikshit had to wait for days before being granted a meeting with Rahul Gandhi — and when he finally met her he barely gave her a hearing. She was a three-term chief minister.
And Dikshit’s case was hardly an exception as the list of those who felt they had been short-changed by Gandhi is fairly long. Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed he kept trying for a meeting with Gandhi and when he got it, Gandhi was more interested in playing with his pet than talking politics with Sarma. He eventually quit the party.
In Goa, in March 2017, after the elections, the Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when it lost the government, even though it was the single-largest party in the Assembly — because, before the results were out, Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party had an appointment with Gandhi at the Congress’ war room at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road in Delhi. He reached the venue to find that the then Congress vice-president was running late and walked across to Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel’s house nearby, where he waited for almost four hours for Gandhi, who did not turn up. His host even dialled Digvijaya Singh, who was the then Goa in-charge, but there was no response.