Rahul's foray into UP polls is a risk worth taking: Aiyar

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Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi, Feb 12: Rahul Gandhi has made Uttar Pradesh his "special turf" and the party's heavy reliance on him in the Assembly polls there would prove to be a "risk worth taking", Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said.

At the same time, the loyalist of the Nehru-Gandhi family said it will "not be the end of the road" for Rahul if the Congress does not perform well in the Assembly elections in the politically-crucial state.

The former Union Minister downplayed the presence of Robert Vadra in the campaigning saying he is doing it as member of the family, but said he would welcome the Gandhi family's son-in-law as an MP if he wins elections.

"Rahul Gandhi has made Uttar Pradesh his special particular turf. So, here is very visible there and makes occasional foray elsewhere," he told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's 'Devil's Advocate'.

Asked whether heavy reliance of Rahul in Uttar Pradesh would undermine the image of the young leader as it is a "high-risk strategy", Aiyar said, "Of course. You will never win if you don't take risk. During the course of it, it will be proved that it is a risk worth taking."

"Yes. But it is not the end of the road. But if the party wins it will be the opening of the gate (for him)," he said when asked whether Congress' defeat in Uttar Pradesh would be a set back to Rahul.

He called the Nehru-Gandhi family as a "bonding adhesive" of the party and its "biggest asset".

Aiyar also dismissed suggestions that Congress President Sonia Gandhi has taken a "back seat" in the campaigning for Uttar Pradesh elections, saying she is continuing to campaign in the manner she has been doing since long.

The diplomat-turned-politician also dismissed suggestions that Congress was following "dynastic politics", saying the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family secured their succession by "democratic right".

He also said all the members of the family who headed or heading the party have overcome several challenges and emerged victorious.

On questions that the Congress rewards only the loyalists of the Nehru-Gandhi family and even their drivers and cooks have been given posts, Aiyar refused to subscribe to the view and said there were many loyalists who have not been elevated because they had shortcomings.

"Absolutely. I could have easily been brought in as an elected candidate in which case I could have been a candidate for Ministership. It was to be sure that I did not become a Minister that I was made a nominated member," Aiyar said to a question that he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha just because he was a loyalist of the family despite losing elections.

PTI

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