While A K Antony’s remarks about doubts in the mind of the people about Congress’ secularism has triggered a debate in the party, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Saturday sparked another controversy when he spoke about people practising “politics of convenience in the lust for power” forgetting the ideology of the Congress. This, he said, damages the Congress. He also said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi by temperament is not a ruling person while reiterating that Rahul should have taken up the responsibility of leading the party in Lok Sabha.
Singh’s comments were seen as his unhappiness over Rahul’s reluctance to take up the responsibility of leading the party in the Lower House. “By temperament, woh sattadhaari vyakti nahin hain. Woh by temperament aisa vyakti hai jo anyaya ke khilaf ladna chaahta hai (he is not a ruling person by temperament…by temperament he is a person who wants to fight injustice),” Singh told a local TV channel in Goa while replying to a question about why Rahul does not accept responsibility.
Later in the day, he clarified he was not questioning Rahul’s leadership abilities or qualities. “No no. Everyone doesn’t hanker after power. Even Mrs Sonia Gandhi…she never took the prime ministership, that is the difference between the family and others,” he said, adding: “He is aggressive when it comes to fighting injustice… He is leading the party.”
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Singh said Rahul should have led the party in Lok Sabha. “I can say that in a democracy, opposition space is necessary. Since the Congress is the largest opposition group, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi should have taken up the responsibility.”
Reflecting on the poll debacle, he felt former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have been more communicative and said the party lost in the “communication and perception war”.