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NRI, Dr. Prem Joshi, University of Bahrain

An insight of the art of grooming leaders in contemporary politics in India
By Professor (Dr.) P.L. Joshi , Bahrain

October 25, 2006
Dr. Prem Joshi, University of Bahrain

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka.
In Indian print media, news stories have been appearing, creating some debate, that Mr. Rahul Gandhi is being projected as the future Prime Minister of India by the ruling Congress Party, its mentors and the political and financial controller of the Congress Party, the third most powerful woman of the world, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.

Politics is considered an art of living together in community. However, in the contemporary context, the real meaning of politics; is perceived as corrupt politicians, greed and party factions etc. Others consider it just a dirty word for 'accountability' and the 'game of compromises' and 'opportunistic tactics' and so on.. Do you know why it is that many intellectuals and self-conscious people in India become quite off-handed and even antagonistic when discussion begins on family legacy in politics? It is because they consider politics a dirty game of business with no limits.

In Indian print media, news stories have been appearing, creating some debate, that Mr. Rahul Gandhi is being projected as the future Prime Minister of India by the ruling Congress Party, its mentors and the political and financial controller of the Congress Party, the third most powerful woman of the world, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. This is being referred to as a strategic planning for India's future leadership, though politicians and planners in India often lack a solid strategic plan for the development of this country, considering that in 59 years of independence, there remains much to be done in eradicating poverty among millions of its citizens.

In foreign media too e.g. Bahrain Tribune ("Rahul in South for grooming course, October 20, 2005) has quoted one news item that Mr. Rahul is being sent to various states in India in order to get a feel of developmental problems of people in various fields. This is being perceived by masses as a stepping stone to groom him by his political ‘Gurus' as the future prime minister of India.

This posture is further seen as good support from Dr. Man Mohan Singh who has been advising and sending Mr. Rahul to various international conferences and programmes to enhance his intellectual skills so that he will have a good grip over the understanding and running a country of 1.1 billion people. It seems very well that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi brought Dr. Man Mohan Singh as the Prime Minister of India after a well thought out strategy so that, the gentlemanship of Dr. Singh will pay fruits to the Gandhi family in the near future.

Hence, Mr. Rahul is working as a trainee under Dr. Singh's tutelage. The Indian general public and intellectuals have great respect for Dr. Singh's ability, capabilities and leadership, as he has been instrumental in transforming India's doldrums and gloomy economy to a reasonable height and the Indian economy is considered to be in the safe hands. Still Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is a God Sister for Dr. Singh and Dr. Singh is turning into a Godfather for Mr. Rahul Gandhi.

The news in the Bahrain Tribune quotes "Friends of the Gandhi family swear that Singh has become Gandhi's right hand man in a short span of time as he was a self-effacing, low-key personality and shy of the media. He (Rahul) has got an excellent and professional team. They operate from his new house in Tughlak Lane and have been doing wonderfully."

One of my international colleagues and friends from the US states on the family dynasty in politics:

"In the US, our current president is the son of a past president. I am sure that his name gave him special opportunities, as people recognized that he came from a politically connected family. Certainly, he was a member of a family and, therefore, saw first hand the challenges of leading a nation. I think it would be wrong if he had become President simply because of his family connections. However, I do not think that happened. He has proven to be a very capable leader. Not everyone agrees with every decision he makes. Yet, he has demonstrated honesty and careful thought in doing his job. He has faced many tough problems like 9-11, wars, and gigantic natural disasters. I think he has done as well or better than any of the other possible leaders in America. Perhaps there are some similarities in the current situation of Mr. Rahul Gandhi and the past situation of Mr. Bush."

All parents would like to see that their children are nourished well, receive the best education and attain the best career levels. However, children have to face stiff competition in this process. Taking care of children is not easy for the average Indian family. Here is a unique case regarding Mr. Rahul, in which the post of the Prime Minister of India is taken for granted as soon as his training period is over. This shows how the legacy of an inherited political system is carried to several generations in the democracy of India.

Why not have Dr. Singh and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi ask Mr. Rahul Gandhi to face a competition like a TV programme being shown on Sony TV "Fame of Gurukul'? Why not has Mr. Rahul come out in the public, compete with other potential young leaders in this country and prove his credentials to be the future Prime Minister of India? If someone else excels him in this competition, why not groom that future leader? Why is a political and administrative training course being carried out especially for Mr. Rahul, at the cost of tax payers’ funds?

Mr. Rahul Gandhi has completed his education from Delhi Public school and had a brief stint at in Stephens College, Delhi University. He then got an M.Phil. in Economics of developing countries from Trinity College, Cambridge (some people say it is still controversial, e.g. with a prior brief stint at Harvard. If people think that graduating from Harvard Business School or university or another US top-ten business schools can make them the best Prime Minister of India, I am sure that many parents would leave no stone unturned to arrange such education for their children. Graduating from such business schools can make you into a good manager but not automatically into a good political leader of this country. I suggest that Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad or Bangalore) and IIPA Delhi develop special training courses for Mr.Rahul in political administration so that he will have the taste of all holy rivers' waters of India.

The late Mrs. Indira Gandhi ruled this country for about two decades under the garb of 'garibee hataoo' (poverty eradication) (the same slogan was given by Late Pandit Jawaher Lal Nehru), and now same thing by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi (it appears that India's problems like poverty eradication are never outdated). One will not be surprised if Mr. Rahul Gandhi may come out similar slogans with some modifications in it using the fundamentals of high tech concepts (like his father and essentially an old wine in a new bottle) and rule this country for decades. It is a well-known fact that under the garb of 'poverty eradication', as well as the" Nehru Gandhi Dynasty', Indian public can be easily emotionalized to get favours.

In March 2004, when Congress party announced to field Mr. Rahul Gandhi to contest election for the Lok Sabha (House of Common), Star News channel, India conducted an opinion survey of the public in Uttar Pradesh, India on " Gandhi Clan's Credibility'. Among other questions, the public responses on a specific question "do you find Rahul Gandhi fit enough to be the Prime Minister of India?," were as follows:

Yes No

Yes, because he represents the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty 32.40% 13.80%

Yes, because he is young and energetic 22.40% 19.20%

Yes, because unlike his mother, he is a born Indian 6.80% 4.70%

Yes, because I don't like the BJP led government 2.70% 3.00%

Yes, for some other reason 3.80% 3.20%

Total Yes 68.10% 43.90%

No, because he has no experience 24.70% 37.40%

No, because his mother is a foreigner 1.50% 3.00%

No, because I am against any dynastic rule 2.50% 7.90%

No, because people don't know much about him 1.00% 2.70%

No, for some other reason 2.20% 5.20%

Total No 31.90% 56.20%

Source:'s News Room Headlines

As can be seen from the above opinion survey, Mr. Gandhi emerges a potential leader of India in the future. In the light of this, I wish Good Luck to Mr. Rahul with a famous quote from a Spiderman movie "with great power comes great responsibility".



Dr. Prem Joshi, University of Bahrain

  • Professor (Dr.) Prem Lal Joshi, University of Bahrain . The author is also Editor-in-Chief: IJAAPE, UK and on the Board of Directors of World Accounting Forum. He is listed in Maquis Who's Who in the World (23rd ed.) and International Who's Who (2005-06)
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