Rahul Gandhi will be the larger than life leader: Salman Khurshid

A file photo of Rahul Gandhi

A file photo of Rahul Gandhi   | Photo Credit: AP

In an interview with ‘The Hindu’, he appeals to his Congress colleagues to ‘courteously find a way forward’ on the leadership

Rahul Gandhi continues to enjoy a ‘larger than life image’ among Congress workers and the next party president should be someone who can work in tandem with him, said Former Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

The senior Congress leader admitted that the current state of affairs within the party appears to be “a little confused run to the finishing line’ and appealed to his colleagues to ‘courteously find a way forward’ on the leadership.

“I am very clear that Rahul Gandhi is not walking away. He has said that he is going to be in fight. Now, if he has said he remains in fight, he will not be a little Salman Khurshid or a little somebody else. He will be the larger than life leader that he has been but he won't be president,” Mr. Khurshid said in an interview with the The Hindu.

“We should be looking for a leader who can work in tandem and not a replacement for Rahul Gandhi. I think it will be a mistake to for a replacement while he is vigorous, determined and made clear indication that he would be there to fight with the forces we want to fight,” he observed.

Talking about the young versus the old debate that has broken out in choosing the next Congress chief, he said, “The ideological position must be let's have somebody who is really outstanding; somebody who is the best. It doesn't matter what their age is. Obviously, if you are very old then you cannot lead for the next 10 years. We already have a young leader in Mr. Rahul Gandhi and you need a companion leader who could lead for the next five or 10 years and build from where we are today".

Ahead of the release of his new book, Visible Muslim Invisible Citizen, which was launched on Friday, Mr. Khurshid spoke on a range of subjects: from the Congress’s current leadership crisis to the 2019 election results to discussing what defines an Indian Muslim.

‘Indian identity of Muslims’

“There is an Indian identity of Muslims. It can be progressive modern Muslim, it can be conservative Muslim, it can be an unbelieving or an atheist Muslim. And that's true of every Indian. When I come across somebody from Uttar Pradesh who is not a Muslim by birth but can speak Urdu better than I or can recite poetry, I see the Muslimness of that person. It's both Indianness and Muslimness of that person,”he he said.

Mr. Khurshid said the election results have stunned the Congress and it needed time to decipher it.

“I don't favour the argument that being a secular Hindu, you cannot vote for the BJP. You can vote for the BJP or some other party. A lot of people who were not socialists or communists had voted for us when Mrs Indira Gandhi had a socialist platform. So, we need a little more time to understand this election,” he said.

Asked about a growing perception that the party was making a tactical retreat from the secular space and had not protested against the recent lynchings, he said, “This perception that the Congress is withdrawing itself is just as false as the perception that Congress was a Muslim party.”

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 1:13:46 AM |

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