The DMK today likened Congress president Rahul Gandhi to his great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, claiming that the country's oldest political party sorely needs a politician with "liberal ideological moorings" like him to take it forward in the years to come.
An editorial in the Tamil party's political mouthpiece Murasoli said that Rahul Gandhi, instead of being disheartened by his party's poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections, must embark on a political journey that would touch the people of India at the grassroots level. The article comes at a time when the Congress chief has announced his decision to step down from his position in favour of a replacement who does not hail from the Gandhi-Nehru family. The recent drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, coupled by Rahul Gandhi's subsequent decision to quit, has thrown the Congress into complete disarray.
The Murasoli piece, which came three days after DMK chief MK Stalin tried to dissuade Rahul Gandhi from taking the drastic step, claimed that the Congress chief does not confine himself solely to electoral politics but shows his concern on issues like religious hostility, economic inequality and poverty even when the polls are nowhere in sight. "The Congress is a broad-based party and a broad-minded person like Rahul Gandhi is needed to lead it," it said.
The editorial claimed that like Jawaharlal Nehru, Rahul Gandhi had transcended the confines of electoral politics by empathising with the people of the country. "To be precise, Rahul Gandhi reflected the thoughts (liberal ideological stand) of Jawaharlal Nehru. He is the strong brick for building the fort of the Congress, and it is even stronger than a mountain of sand," it said.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, was said to be a strong proponent of secularism and social justice.
The article also slammed the practice of blaming the Nehru-Gandhi family every time the Congress suffers an electoral loss. "These critics do not realise that this is the very family that has brought them victories on several occasions. But now, at a time when the party performed badly, they are trying to blame Rahul Gandhi again," it said.
The BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the recent Lok Sabha elections, limiting the Congress to a paltry 52. MK Stalin recently urged Rahul Gandhi to reconsider his decision to step down as Congress chief, saying that while he may have proved unsuccessful in the elections, he has still "succeeded in winning the hearts of the people".
(With inputs from PTI)