India Insight

India won’t have misfortune of having Rahul Gandhi as PM: AAP’s Kumar Vishwas

January 14, 2014

By Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra

The Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas, who plans to challenge the Congress party from the Gandhi family’s bastion in Uttar Pradesh, said it would be unfortunate if Rahul Gandhi became India’s prime minister.

Vishwas’s remarks came as Gandhi suggested in a rare interview published on Tuesday in the Dainik Bhaskar that he was ready to be prime minister if the Congress returns to power in the 2014 general election due by May.

“I don’t think that India has the misfortune of him (Rahul Gandhi) ever becoming prime minister,” Vishwas said in a telephone interview from Amethi district. “The direction in which the country is headed right now … things will only get worse (if Gandhi becomes PM).”

The poet-turned-politician is likely to contest from Amethi, a constituency from where Gandhi has won the last two parliamentary elections. An official announcement by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is a formality, Vishwas said.

“People who have made it this far on the basis of their family name … how can they lead this country?” he said.

Amethi has been a stronghold of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty with Gandhi’s parents (Rajiv and Sonia) and uncle (Sanjay) having represented the seat in parliament. “This is a prince-versus-pauper battle … my fight is not against Rahul Gandhi, it is against this dynasty rule,” the 43-year-old Vishwas said.

Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, or “common man party”, is planning to contest national polls this year, riding on an anti-corruption wave that helped them form a government in the capital city of New Delhi after Gandhi’s party threw its support behind AAP.

Despite the AAP’s success in the capital, opinion polls say that the Bharatiya Janata Party under Narendra Modi might displace the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2014. A slowing economy, rising food prices and corruption scandals have hurt the ruling coalition’s reputation.

The AAP, which is working on its national manifesto, on Monday overturned the previous Congress government’s decision to allow foreign investment in Delhi’s retail sector, a move that could dampen investor sentiment and hurt the UPA’s efforts to revive the economy.

Vishwas said that the AAP’s decision on foreign investment was specific to Delhi, and a national view would emerge only after seeking public opinion.

“We are not against capitalism, but are against crony capitalism. The nexus between bureaucracy, politicians and capitalists should be broken,” he said, referring to the party’s policies.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan; Follow Aditya on Twitter @adityayk, Sankalp @sankalp_sp and Robert @bobbymacReports. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced in any form without permission)

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Varun Gandhi too comes from the same family. We have scores of political heirs coming from different states of India and also parties. We also find the sons and daughters, son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws of politicians fighting elections. He has no problem with the right wing party but only with Rahul Gandhi. AAP has no plans for Indian Economy and they have no ideology either. They take convenient stands with regard to issues. Sometimes they sound quite Congress and sometime leftists and Kumar Vishwas professed that he is a rightist. You are giving too much of importance to Vishwas which he does not deserve. Just because he opposes Rahul Gandhi, he is a big man. You will also have Samajvadi party, BJP & BSP candidates once the elections are announced. You must give so much space for them too. This is purely a gimmick. Reuters must not fall into the trap because you are an agency with certain ethics.

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