New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi`s unexpected outburst against his government, which had acted at the party`s behest to push an ordinance that would give a reprieve to convicted lawmakers and save them from disqualification, has exposed a glaring communication and generational gap in the Congress party that has become its talking point since Friday afternoon.
"The incident has highlighted that there is a greater need for intra-party consultations on legislative matters," senior Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi told IANS.
Another senior Congress leader Anil Shastri, who had tweeted against the ordinance Thursday arguing it could hurt the party`s prospects in the coming assembly polls, said Gandhi`s reaction to the ordinance showed he was not kept in the loop over it.
"The reaction establishes that he was not kept in the loop over it," Shastri told IANS.
Ever since he took over as vice president of the 127-year-old Congress in
January, Gandhi, 43, has been trying hard to ensure that party leaders, both at the central and state levels, communicate with each other better and more frequently.
Gandhi`s efforts have been aimed at creating more democratic systems in the party and his public criticism of the ordinance Friday indicated there is not much progress on that front, especially as the party braces for five assembly polls this year end and the 2014 national elections, said party sources.
Gandhi, who usually keeps away from the media glare, surprised the leaders and the journalists alike by his sudden appearance at the Press Club of India and his somewhat impetuous reaction is being viewed as a manifestation of his frustration at the way the old guard was deciding on key issues keeping the younger lot out of the decision-making loop.
"The ordinance should have been discussed threadbare within the party before the cabinet took it up. It shows there is no connect between the party and the government on key issues," Shastri maintained.
Chaturvedi, who speaks for the party on TV, justified Gandhi`s actions, saying: "To have independent views on issues is the essence of democracy. By saying what he did Rahul Gandhi has exercised his democratic right."
"He did not snub the prime minister but only made his feelings clear," Chaturvedi said.
Rahul Gandhi`s denouncement of the ordinance, widely criticised among common people and activists, is being seen in party circles as a "departure from usual practice to clean politics as a whole."
"It was aimed at upholding a value in political domain which was getting diluted," a top Congress functionary close to Gandhi admitted to IANS.
"It is not about X or Y or about power centres. Rahul Gandhi felt that for short-term gains, fundamental principles were being compromised," he said, adding: "And he is increasingly going to speak out his mind in future as well."