Rahul Gandhi, new Congress party No. 2, condemns 'tragedy of India' and blasts 'elitists'


Congress party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi (L) gestures as he shares a light moment with his mother, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi (R), during the Congress party leadership conclave in Jaipur on January 20, 2013.

Rahul Gandhi, elevated to the governing Congress party's No. 2 post, has attacked Indian 'elitism' and said he would work to transform the country by decentralizing power.


The Associated Press quoted  him as saying:

"A handful of people control the entire political space. It doesn't matter how much wisdom you have. If you don't have position, you have nothing. That's the tragedy of India... We only empower people at the top of the system. We don't believe in empowering all the way to the bottom."

Gandhi, son of current Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has told party workers in Jaipur that he will work for Indian youths.

The Economic Times quoted him as saying:

"They are angry because they are alienated. They are excluded from the political class. They watch from the sidelines as the powerful drive around in their laal battis [red beacons]." 

The AP said Gandhi was widely expected to be the party’s candidate for prime minister in next year’s elections.

Opposition parties have tried to paint Congress' elevation of the 42-year-old lawmaker — the son, grandson and great-grandson of Indian prime ministers — as a move to convert the world’s largest democracy into a dynastic nation.

Arun Jaitley, a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, branded Congress as nepotistic and elitist, saying his party chose its leaders on the basis of ability, not lineage.

However, according to the AP, Congress party workers had been demanding Gandhi’s elevation for years.

IBN Live described Gandhi as "normally reticent and hesitant," although he spoke "aggressively and emotionally" on Sunday in Jaipur, saying: 

"Last night, everyone congratulated me. But my mother came to my room and she sat and cried. Because she understands that the power that so many see is poison. She can see it because she is not attached to it [power]."

While Gandhi had so far been shying away from holding a top position in the party, he said during his acceptance speech:

"For me, the Congress party is my life. The people of India are my life and I will fight for them."