Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader and former president of the country’s oldest political party, turns 50 today, June 19, 2020. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, we reproduce an article that highlights some of his leadership qualities.
By Sanjay Gupta
He is one of the most trolled men in India. His intelligence has been incessantly lampooned. Barbs and insults are constantly hurled at his family. His ability to lead men has always been questioned.
And, yet, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi soldiers on. With a smile.
While manouevring his way through the murky labyrinth that politics is, he has shrugged off many insults and maintained his poise.
Leading a political party is a tall order, but Rahul has now proved he possesses the leadership qualities that can give shape to a new, stronger Congress.
Here are 10 reasons why the Congress president is perfect CEO material:
1. The mentor: Rahul Gandhi has been a remarkable guide and a guru to the Congress rank and file, many of whom had become despondent after the drubbing the party received in the 2014 polls. All that is now history. Rahul has taken command of a party that was down and out and brought it right back into the reckoning by leading it from the front.
2. The motivator: The Congress president’s ability to catalyse his party into action and re-energise his team has already begun to pay rich dividends. He seems to have breathed new life into the Congress workers and supporters who have shed their misery and are now enthused to take on the BJP, which has gone on the defensive not knowing how to tackle Rahul’s persistent attacks.
3. The communicator: Possessed of strong communication skills, Rahul Gandhi has managed to get his thoughts and ideas to not just Congress supporters but also to the nation. His forceful speeches and statements have already begun to dent the BJP’s carefully crafted image of a pro-poor, non-corrupt and nationalist party. Since the 2019 elections, Rahul’s attacks on the ruling party have only become stronger.
4. The avid student: The 2014 and 2019 electoral defeats that the Congress experienced were enough to demoralize anyone. However, Rahul has shown the ability to learn from the past mistakes, accept those mistakes and course-correct.
5. The relationship builder: He’s good at building relationships and breaking down silos. The Congress, under his leadership, has struck many political alliances, thus ensuring that the opposition to the BJP becomes stronger.
6. The tough decision-maker: Rahul has shown a ruthlessness that many in his own party thought him incapable of. He has managed to infuse energy and induct youngsters into higher positions into the party, weeding out the old guard.
7. The visionary: When the Congress was down and out after 2014 and 2019 elections, the nation thought it would indeed become ‘Congress mukt’ soon. However, the naysayers hadn’t considered the quiet confidence and strength of Rahul Gandhi. When others could barely see any chance of the Congress growing into a formidable challenger to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rahul could visualize the future for his party. He realizes there are many challenges before him, but the roadmap he has laid out for the Congress shows he has made party workers aware of the strategy that will help them achieve audacious goals.
8. The calculated risk-taker: The Gandhi scion is fully cognizant of the fact that when an opportunity comes knocking by, one shouldn’t complain about the noise but embrace it with open arms. He has always been ready for those unpredicted breaks that present themselves when one takes bold steps. As in business, so in politics: Rahul has begun to take calculated risks now and these measures seemed to have opened up new avenues for him and the Congress to explore and exploit. Rahul’s risk-taking ability also shows his growing confidence and that he has shed his fear of failure.
9. The ‘out of the box’ thinker: In the fast-changing world of political affairs, it is important to come up with newer ways and ideas to beat your opponents, keep your team enthused and achieve your goals. Rahul has realized that often tried-and-tested tactics don’t work and he has thus come up with novel strategies that have rattled his opponents. These out of the box ideas have helped him adapt to new leadership style and revive the Congress.
10. The creator of hope: After being reduced to 44 seats in the Lok Sabha after the 2015 general elections and then marginally improving the tally to 52 seats in the 2019 polls, many a political analyst and television anchor had written off the party and, especially, it’s leader. However, after a brief period of reticence, Rahul has bounced back with a bang. He’s now the ray of hope the Congress looks up to to derail the juggernaut that the Bharatiya Janata Party is. Indeed, in him the Congress and its millions of supporters see political salvation.
This article first appeared in Yahoo on September 28, 2018. It has since been edited for accuracy of timelines.