"Young Congress Leaders Leaving Because..." Kiren Rijiju Attacks Rahul Gandhi

Dismissing Rahul Gandhi's current Manipur-Mumbai Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra, Mr Rijiju said it was the BJP's Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra was the actual yatra.

Kiren Rijiju said, "Rahul Gandhi doesn't have hope -- that's the biggest issue".

New Delhi:

Union minister Kiren Rijiju today said the leaders of the Congress were making a beeline for the BJP because of the ineptitude of Rahul Gandhi both as a speaker and a leader. For many in the party, he is an embarrassment, especially in view of his comments about the country made abroad, Mr Rijiju alleged.

"Rahul Gandhi doesn't have hope -- that's the biggest issue... He is extremely negative," Mr Rijiju told NDTV in an exclusive interview. "That's why all young leaders of Congress are leaving -- they want future prospects but Rahul Gandhi can't offer that,' he claimed.

Over the last few years more than 10 leaders of the Congress -- young and veteran -- have quit the party. Many of them have joined the BJP. The last to quit was Milind Deora, who joined the Shiv Sena last week.

Several of Mr Gandhi's close aides, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, has quit. Mr Scindia is now the aviation minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr Gandhi -- who is currently traversing the northeast on his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra -- "embarrasses" his party leaders when he speaks, Mr Rijiju alleged.

"Many Congress leaders, some sensible ones, I meet them. They are aghast. They say they are helpless. When Rahul speaks, they are worried," he said.

"I feel sorry for some good people in Congress party, whether it is Kharge or anybody. In parliament, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is Congress's leader in the Lok Sabha but he has no authority. Our leader leads from the front and speaks with authority. When PM speaks about any subject, there is no equivalent voice in parliament," he remarked.

Dismissing Mr Gandhi's current Manipur to Mumbai yatra, Mr Rijiju said it was the BJP's Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra was the actual yatra.

"There is a great difference between our yatra and theirs… The Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra is the actual yatra as it is reaching out and carries the message of Modi ki guarantee," he added.