In a clear political message to counter Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's PM ambitions, Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday asserted that he is interested only in resurrecting the Congress to its past glory and just not interested in the PM's post. Coming two days after Modi forcing himself on the BJP to be declared the prime ministerial candidate, Rahul Gandhi attempted to show his priorities were different in an interaction with the Congress MPs in the Parliament House here, with a score of journalists lending ears to his monologue with keen interest.
He said the question of who will be the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress does not interest him. He went on to affirm: "Our family already had two (sic he forgets Jawaharlal Nehru) prime ministers. My mother could have become the PM any time....I have no lust for power or to become the PM. My priority is to empower and democratise the party and give voice to the middle tier in the Congress." The Congress scion further said his focus was on organisation and to get people on peripheries involved in nation building.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi later at the party briefing said "all workers of our party want him to take over some day, but we know he is not after any post, does not want to be the PM....our workers, however, want him to become the PM."
Unlike his protective image, Rahul did not shoe away few journalists, who had started gathering around a group of MPs sitting with him. When a journalist interrupted his monologue, asking why he seldom meets the media, he snapped back: "Do you think I am running away from questioning,” pointing out the volley of questions he was facing from party office bearers and MPs. “I have so much work to do within our party,” he also said.
On his plans for the Congress, Rahul said he wants to break the nexus of a handful people running every political party. "Samajwadi Party is run by two, father and son, BSP by one, BJP may be by 7-8 and Nagpur, and Congress by 20 - 25. I want to broaden it. There is no dearth of talent in the party but our district and block level functionaries are not empowered. All look at Delhi for decisions. I want to see that they take decisions themselves."
He then turned to former Youth Congress president Ashok Tanwar, who was sitting behind him and said better ask him what Rahul Gandhi did on becoming the general secretary incharge of the frontal organisations. "When I asked him to give me the list of the office-bearers, district presidents and block presidents, he kept his head bent. And when I asked for the membership list, he just fell down from the chair," Rahul said smilingly. Tanwar also nodded his head. He pointed out that this experience has prompted him to democratise party through proper elections.
"I want to build the organisational structure of the Congress such that every person feels important and does not look at the high command for every decision....I detest the very word high command....I am here for a long haul to be instrument of change in the party...I have come to change and if in 10-15 years I fail to do so, I would pack up my bags," Rahul added.
He also said the western model of democracy was not applicable in India. “ I have put my head together. I found western model not workable here. India needs its own model,” he added. He also let his secret of not marrying as a footnote, while leaving his chair. “Once one is married, his outlook changes as he has to devote time to raise the family and also take care of adjusting the family members, about the future of children,” he quipped. He added: "Maybe I am not marrying so that I have no 'swarth' (self-interest)."