Blaming once again the Muslim community for what seems
to be the failure of the successive Congress governments at the
centre and states, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said
after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad the party did not get any minority leader
of national stature.
“Name five leaders who have pan-India presence today,”
a report in Indian Express quoted Rahul Gandhi as asking a gathering of Muslim Youth Congress leaders
When some among the audience named Ghulam Nabi Azad and
Salman Khurshid, Rahul dismissed their suggestions saying that
Muslims in, say, Andhra Pradesh, will not identify themselves with
“We do not even even have five (Muslim) leaders who have pan-India
appeal from Kashmir to Kerala,” a Youth Congress leader, who
attended the training session at the Vishwa Yuva Kendra, quoted
Rahul as saying.
“After Maulana Azad, we have not had a leader with a national
stature,” the report quoted him as saying, reminding the audience that at AICC
sessions during the Independence movement, there used to be
portraits of 30-40 leaders who had the calibre to become the Prime
“We do not have leaders of that stature today,” he
Rahul was said to have added that he will be satisfied if even 10
leaders of national stature emerge from the younger generation.
The report further added, the IYC sought to play it down, saying that Rahul had
made similar observations concerning Dalit and tribal leadership
at other IYC workshops in the past. “Can you dispute his
conclusion? Do you consider Ghulam Nabi Azad or Salman Khurshid
national leaders?” the report quoted a senior IYC office-bearer as
Senior Congress leaders agreed to Rahul’s views, but had their own
take on this issue. “Who do you blame if such leaders have not
emerged? It is the responsibility of the party leadership to
promote and project mass leaders. Instead, we do just the
opposite,” Indian Express quoted a Congress functionary as
Rahul Gandhi had issued similar statements while addressing the
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students in 2009.
"It is not about what religion or
community you come from, it is what you bring to the table, what
capability you have," Rahul had said while addressing the AMU
Replying to a question that
having come a long way after Independence how much more time will it
take for India to have its first Muslim prime minister, he said, "Today, Manmohan Singh is not the
Prime Minister of India because he is a Sikh. He is the Prime
Minister because he is the most capable person to do the job.
"And let me tell you something that
even when you do have a Muslim prime minister, he will be a prime
minister because he is the most capable person," 39-year-old Gandhi
He told a questioner, "You need to
step up and the number of leaders coming out of your community needs
to go up.