Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, thinks Rahul Gandhi has recently shown a leadership quality that is missing in PM Narendra Modi. That is, the Congress president has shown a desire to listen to people and understand issues affecting them. During an interview with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Wednesday, Pawar said such a quality was missing in the prime minister.
When asked a question about Rahul Gandhi, Pawar praised the Congress president, saying the latter has reached out to people across the country in the last few years and tried to understand their problems. Not only this, borrowing one of the famous Modi slogans, Pawar even predicted that the “achche din” for Congress would come soon if Gandhi continues to showcase his qualities.
Pawar believes that only the Congress is capable of defeating the BJP as there is no third party having its presence spread across the country. He also said that the Congress needs to be strengthened in the interest of the country.
“Even though the Congress is considerably weakened over the years, Rahul Gandhi has shown willingness to learn and engage with the people. If the people support him, the Congress can be revived and the fact is that a strong opposition is required to strengthen democracy,” PTI quoted Pawar as saying.
The Maharashtra strongman was also critical of PM Modi’s leadership quality. He told Thackeray that the prime minister doesn’t believe in teamwork, which is necessary for a diverse and large country like India.
The NCP leader’s remarks on Rahul Gandhi are new as in past Pawar was doubtful about the Congress president’s ability to lead the party.
Recently, Pawar had attended a meeting of opposition parties called by UPA head Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. At the meeting, Gandhi had called for opposition unity both inside and outside parliament.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has welcomed Pawar’s comment. Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan today said the party was “satisfied” with Pawar’s comments.
Both Congress and NCP ruled Maharashtra for three terms before they were dislodged by the BJP in 2014. But they have so far failed to make a pre-poll understanding ahead of the 2019 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The Grand Old Party recently cited practical difficulties for its decision to not renew the alliance with the NCP for next year’s polls. Pawar’s remarks on Congress are seen as a bid to reach out to the Congress in the state.