This Article is From Aug 29, 2022

"Rahul Gandhi A Nice Man, But Doesn't Have Aptitude For Politics": GN Azad

Ghulam Nabi Azad also slammed what he called "Rahul Gandhis policy of attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi left, right and centre."

New Delhi:

Ghulam Nabi Azad, who quit the Congress last week with a trenchant critique of Rahul Gandhi's "childish behaviour and immaturity", said today that he is a "nice man" but has no aptitude for politics.

The veteran leader also slammed what he called "Rahul Gandhi's policy of attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi left, right and centre."

Mr Azad, 73, also ruled out joining the BJP, confirming reports that he wants to launch his own party in Jammu and Kashmir.

In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Mr Azad said the Congress Working Committee (CWC) - the party's powerful decision-making body - had become "meaningless" today and the consultative process that thrived under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had been demolished.

"Earlier there were only CWC members. In the last 10 years, there have been 25 CWC members and 50 special invitees. Sonia Gandhi, let us be fair, between 1998 and 2004, was totally consulting senior leaders. She was depending on them, accepting recommendations...But after Rahul Gandhi came, from 2004, Mrs Gandhi started depending more on Rahul Gandhi. He had no aptitude of doing that. She wanted everybody to coordinate with Rahul Gandhi," Mr Azad said.

In his five-page resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, Mr Azad blamed Rahul Gandhi for the Congress's defeat in the 2014 national election - a turning point for the party that has been struggling to win elections since.

Speaking to NDTV, he said he had, after consultations, recommended an organisational plan ahead of the 2014 election.

But after he took over, Rahul Gandhi "didn't pay any heed" to multiple reminders about the plan, he said. "So no programme was implemented. Then after 2014 also I reminded him a number of times, now for next elections. Till today is now 9 years those recommendations are laying in the store of AICC (All India Congress Committee). So, they are not making any effort, they are not putting any effort to improve the conditions of the Congress."

Mr Azad shared what he believes is a key reason for the breach between the Congress's old guard and Rahul Gandhi - his "Chowkidar Chor Hai (the gatekeeper is the thief)" slogan in the 2019 election, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

No senior leader backed the campaign, Mr Azad said, revealing that Rahul Gandhi had asked for a show of hands at a party meeting on who supported his slogan and many veterans had shown their disapproval.

"Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, P Chidambaram and I were there," he said.

"We got our political education under Indira Gandhi. While I was junior minister, she called ML Fotedar and me and said we should keep meeting Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Our education was that we should respect our elders and give equal respect to opposition leaders. We were not told to attack senior leaders? His policy is to attack Modi right, left and centre. We can't go personal like this? Is this the language senior cabinet ministers should use?"

Mr Azad insisted that he held no personal grudges against Rahul Gandhi.

"Personally, I have no grudge. He is a nice man, gentleman. He has always been respectful to me. But as a politician he doesn't have the aptitude...He doesn't have the aptitude for hard work - unlike his father, grandmother and uncle." he said.