Posts tagged ‘Randeep Singh Surjewala’


Rahul Gandhi Wakes Up to New Role as Rebel Leader – India Real Time – WSJ

There’s nothing particularly newsworthy about boisterous Indian lawmakers blocking debate on the floor of Parliament when they don’t get their way, unless one of the lawmakers is the usually-reticent Rahul Gandhi.

The typically uninvolved Parliamentary back-bencher and Congress party vice president made the front pages of Indian newspapers Thursday after he and others mobbed the desk of the lower house of Parliament’s speaker, demanding to be heard.

“Rip Van Winkle Rahul Finally Rises Out of Slumber,” read an Economic Times headline paired with a recent photograph of Mr. Gandhi nodding off during a parliamentary session.

Mr. Gandhi, who is part of a diminished Congress camp of 44 representatives in the 545-member Lok Sabha, also made a rare statement to reporters outside Parliament complaining that opposition parties were not being allowed to speak. He accused speaker Sumitra Mahajan of bias after she shot down a proposal to discuss recent communal violence.

“There is a mood in Parliament that only one man’s voice counts,” Mr. Gandhi said in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On the campaign trail a few months ago, Mr. Gandhi had said a Modi-led government would polarize Indians and trigger religious unrest.

Mr. Gandhi’s outburst was described as “surprisingly belligerent” in the Times of India that also carried a front-page story about what they called his “new-found combativeness.”

The fourth-generation scion’s occasional public outbursts are closely covered by the national media. In October when he called an executive order by his own party’s government “complete nonsense,” his tantrum was reported, discussed and debated for days.

On Wednesday, television news channels questioned what may have prompted a reaction from a leader who in his decade-long career in Parliament has rarely engaged in debate or taken the lead on policy issues.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party offered one theory.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Mr. Gandhi’s show of aggression was a result of internal rumblings – a “palace coup” – in the beleaguered Congress that is struggling to bounce back after its worst ever electoral defeat in national elections.

The party’s dynastic leadership by president Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, must be struggling and Mr. Gandhi’s actions Wednesday were an attempt “to show they are also capable of aggression,” Mr. Jaitley said.

Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said there “wasn’t an iota of doubt or question” within his party on the Gandhis’ leadership. Some “disgruntled elements hankering for immediate power” had abandoned the Congress after the electoral defeat, Mr. Surjewala said, but added that his party had weathered numerous challenges in the past and, like before, would emerge stronger.

He said the Modi-led government couldn’t run away from a discussion on religious violence by making personal attacks against Congress or its leaders.

via Rahul Gandhi Wakes Up to New Role as Rebel Leader – India Real Time – WSJ.

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