“Rahul, just be your grandmother’s grandson”- about 20 months back, I wrote a piece saying how Rahul Gandhi needs to learn the ropes of politics from no one else, but his grandmother Indira Gandhi. Over a year and a half later, I can positively say that the world has started to see “glimpses of Indira Gandhi” in her grandson. The similitude that they share extends to the fact that the very essence of their presence is marked with perseverance and unwearying patience. Although it is Priyanka Gandhi who is compared to Indira, India iron Lady, in reality, it is Rahul Gandhi who actually evinces his grandmother’s qualities.In Priyanka’s words:
“But she [Indira Gandhi] had this bond with him [Rahul]. And she taught him and she spent a lot of time with him, talking to him… even the morning that she passed away. And I think that Rahul has imbibed a lot of that and his thinking is in many ways a lot like my father, because he is a visionary like that. He’s an institution builder like my father was, but it’s a good mix. Because his understanding of politics is really very good. Much better than he is given credit for. And that I think comes from my grandmother.”Today, we see Rahul Gandhi’s rallies in Gujarat pulling in huge crowds – resembling the undeniable lionisation that his eminent grandmother used to capture. Indira Gandhi was a politician who connected with the masses, cared for them, and single-handedly dealt with adversities through unparalleled courage and dynamism. What she got in return was love multiplied by the poor and the downtrodden, so much so that even after losing her for more than three decades now, thousands of people still stream into her memorial in Delhi. In many parts of the nation, she is affectionately remembered as “Indira Amma”.While Rahul Gandhi has embarked on the same journey, there are miles to go and several promises to keep.
At the outset of her political reign, Indira Gandhi was largely snubbed by the opposition. The then newly appointed prime minister of India was given a misnomer – “goongi gudiya” by the socialist leader, Ram Manohar Lohia. Later, she rose high enough to be hailed as “goddess Durga”.Indira Gandhi too faced unacceptance not only from the opposition, but from her party as well. After the demise of the then PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi was elected over Morarji Desai as the party leader, when Congress president Kamaraj orchestrated her selection as the prime minister. Many party leaders, including him, perceived her to be weak enough to be controlled and strong enough to defeat Desai, her being Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter. She won and became prime minister in 1966. However, the resistance that she faced from senior Congress leaders over several issues led to the formation of Congress (R) in 1969. DO
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