Monday, November 4, 2013



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Reference IDCreatedClassificationOrigin
05NEWDELHI16612005-03-03 12:28SECRETEmbassy New Delhi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 001661 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2015 
REF: 04 STATE 136184 
Classified By: DCM Robert O. Blake, Jr. for Reasons 1.4 (B, D) 
1.  (S) In a March 1 conversation with Poloff, influential 
columnist and political insider Saeed Naqvi commented on 
Rahul Gandhi at some length.  Naqvi prefaced his remarks by 
noting that he was a personal friend of Rahul's father, Rajiv 
Gandhi, and a well-wisher of the Gandhi family.  Naqvi was 
initially delighted when Sonia Gandhi projected Rahul as the 
heir apparent, but has since lost faith.  He claims that the 
word among Congress insiders, including those in the coterie 
surrounding Sonia Gandhi, is that Rahul will never become 
Prime Minister for several reasons.  Saying that he "refused 
to indulge in gossip," Naqvi claimed that it is increasingly 
common knowledge that Rahul suffers from "personality 
problems" of an emotional or psychological nature that are 
severe enough to prevent him from functioning as PM. 
2.  (S) Naqvi also claimed that his Congress contacts tell 
him that Rahul has failed as an MP representing the Gandhi 
pocket borough in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.  Congress 
purportedly hoped to create a revival campaign in UP based 
around Rahul and his appeal as a member of the Gandhi 
dynasty, but has now given up, as he "is causing more harm 
than good" and operates at cross-purposes to the state 
Congress leadership.  According to Naqvi, Rahul has done 
nothing for UP except to make pro-forma appearances in 
Amethi, and has "made no impression on the people of the 
state."  This is leading to growing discouragement that 
Congress will be able revive and take over the state from 
Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party 
(SP) any time in the near future.  This growing impatience is 
reportedly fueling internal debates as to whether it would be 
better for Congress to accept a junior partner status and 
cultivate an appropriate regional ally, such as Mayawati and 
her Dalit-based BSP party. 
3.  (S) Naqvi stated that the Gandhi family always preferred 
that Rahul's sister, Priyanka, enter politics, as she was 
judged to be more intelligent and savvy.  Arguing that Sonia 
Gandhi is an Italian mother, and "like an Indian mother," has 
a protective feeling regarding her son, Naqvi speculated that 
Sonia apparently went against her better judgment and 
selected Rahul over his sister as "heir apparent."  Naqvi 
claimed that Gandhi dynastic politics had no future, as the 
family has run out of prime ministerial candidates with 
appropriate charisma.  Indira Gandhi was the last member of 
the dynasty capable of being an effective PM and Rajiv would 
never have won re-election had he not been assassinated. 
Naqvi implied that the common impression among Congress 
insiders is that Rahul is far below even his father in 
political ability. 
4.  (C) Comment: Naqvi offered an unusually sharp commentary 
of views we have heard elsewhere.  While our Congress 
contacts invariably hail Sonia as a "visionary leader" with a 
special feeling for India's "common man" there are few in the 
party who are willing to offer such glowing comments on 
Rahul.  Rahul disdains the Delhi social scene, in contrast to 
most of his political peers.  In the few instances we have 
come across Rahul, he has kept a very low profile and kept 
mostly to himself or close friends.  Despite signs of growing 
unhappiness from Congress insiders regarding Rahul, however, 
he continues to be the subject of press reports that  rave 
about his participation in the early January Congress Youth 
training camp and suggest that he is preparing to take the 
mantle of the "leader of young India" and "blossoming into a 
leader with mass acceptability."  During the two-day youth 
training session, Rahul engaged in interactive discussions 
ranging from pesticides in cola products -- he was against 
closing the plants -- to defending the GOI,s globalization 
policy and economic reforms.  Given this publicity machine 
that Rahul enjoys, we, unlike Naqvi, are not yet prepared to 
write him off just yet. 

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