Rahul Gandhi differs with Sonia on playing bigger role?

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Sonia Gandhi with Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi, Jul 19: When the much debated issue of Rahul Gandhi's "bigger role" in the UPA government was getting murkier day-by-day, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary finally announced that he is ready to play a greater role.

While casting his vote for Pranab Mukherjee for the presidential poll in the Parliament on Thursday, Jul 19 Rahul Gandhi announced that he will play more "pro-active role in the party and the government." He also said, "The decision has been taken, the timing is upto the leadership."

Rahul's announcement came just a day after Sonia Gandhi's comment that "no one", not even she herself, can take any decision on behalf of him. Citing both Rahul and Sonia's statements, it seems that both of them slightly differed in their opinion on taking "a final decision".

While Sonia showed full confidence on the young Gandhi scion, Rahul still wants to wait for the final nod from the party high command.

Sonia earlier on Wednesday stated, "No one can take a decision on his behalf. He has to take a decision."

However, while declaring his decision, Rahul Gandhi stated, "The decision depends on my two bosses - the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."

Sonia and Rahul's statements followed the controversial statement of Law Minister Salman Khurshid. Khurshid had earlier told The Indian Express that the ruling party was yet to get any ideological direction from Rahul Gandhi.

"Until now, we have only seen cameos of his thought and ideas like democratising elections to the Youth Congress. But he has not weaved all of this into a grand announcement. This is a period of waiting," Khurshid said in the interview.

He seemed to blame Rahul for not leading from the front. "The fact is that he is undoubtedly and unquestionably the number two leader in the party. Yet he has not taken up the mantle or accepted a functional responsibility. He is so far not willing to accept the number two position," Khurshid rued.

He also admitted that "In UPA II, governance and politics have all got intermingled. The political props have got mixed up. It is a scattered situation."

Predictably, BJP made most of Khurshid's observation that "It's not only economic reforms that have slowed down. Even political and administrative reforms have not happened because of this situation."

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "It is not at all surprising that Congress leaders are echoing the same sentiment. As far as the Congress led government is concerned, it lacks policies, leadership and accountability. The Prime Minister started off as a reformist but he has turned out to be a non-performer."

The Samajwadi Party reacted in a similar vein. Shahid Siddiqui quipped that Khurshid voiced "a truth which Congressmen have been whispering to each other for quite some time...the government is directionless and the country, its economy is suffering, and somebody has to inform the bosses of the truth."

However, Congress' Digvijay Singh also commented on Rahul Gandhi and his "greater role". Singh, while clarifying his view on the topic, has been quoted as saying, "Finally, the time has come for him to assume a larger role...He had been confining himself to Youth Congress and the student wing of the party. He should come in the mainstream...This is the demand of all Congressmen. We all want that he works proactively."

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