New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, often considered India’s next prime minister in waiting, is also the country’s most eligible bachelor. Press often speculate about his romantic future though Gandhi has given very little material for them to play with. He has been always a bit of mystery as far as his personal side is concerned. And now in a rare admission, Gandhi clears the issue – he is not interesting in getting married. In an interaction with Congress MPs and journalists in New Delhi this week, Gandhi said he did not wish to tie the knot and start a family as doing so would lead him to develop a vested interest in the status quo at the expense of his mission to democratize the Congress and decentralize its decision-making.
“If I get married and have children, then I will become a status quoist and will be concerned about bequeathing my position to my children,” he said. This was the first-ever confirmation of Rahul’s much-speculated disinclination to marry and start a family. Rahul has so far fended off questions about his marriage by saying people would get to know about his plans at the appropriate time.
He also denied that he aspired to be PM and lamented that Congress as well as other parties had degenerated into oligarchies where a tiny elite call the shots. Asked about his interest in the PM’s job, he said, “Asking whether you want to be prime minister is to ask me a wrong question.” The response defied the growing clamour from the ranks that he be declared the Congress’s candidate for PMO in the 2014 polls.
The disclaimer also comes at a time when the move to project Narendra Modi as BJP’s candidate for the top job has gathered momentum, and belies the assessment that Rahul’s agreeing to Congress vice-president suggested that he had finally come around to be projected as the party’s spearhead for the 2014 polls.
Congress immediately rushed to insist that Rahul’s comments may not necessarily be the last word on whether he will accept the responsibility. Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, “All Congress workers desire that Rahul Gandhi become the PM one day and we are sure that our wish will be fulfilled.”
Rahul further declared his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi who “wielded such influence because he never hankered for power”. He added that he was inspired by ‘nishkam karma’ or selfless pursuit of action, the central doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita. He said he was not interested in power, having seen prime ministers from close quarters.
Picking up from where he left in the party’s brainstorming session in Jaipur in January, Rahul said he wanted to rebuild the party from the ground up, empowering workers. He said decision-making in Congress had come to be concentrated in 15-20 people, resulting in a situation where the aspirant for a legislative council nomination in Andhra Pradesh had to come to Delhi. “Why should this be so?” he asked.