Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who yesterday shared a stage with other members of the G0-23 – a group of senior party leaders who have questioned the Gandhis’ leadership style – at a public event in Jammu and Kashmir, today lavished praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Azad, who hails from J&K and served three years as Chief Minister, drew parallels between himself and the Prime Minister, of whom he said “I appreciate he doesn’t hide his true self”.
The former Rajya Sabha MP, at whose resignation earlier this month the PM choked up and struggled to speak, also warned political leaders (he took no names) against “living in a bubble”.
“I like a lot of things about many leaders. I’m from a village and am proud of that… I’m also proud that leaders like our Prime Minister, who used to sell tea, also come from villages. We may be rivals but I appreciate he doesn’t hide his true self,” Mr Azad said in a video shared by news agency ANI.
#WATCH I like lot of things about many leaders. I'm from village & feel proud… Even our PM hails from village & used to sell tea. We're political rivals but I appreciate that he doesn't hide his true self. Those who do, are living in bubble: Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad in Jammu pic.twitter.com/8KKIYOwzZB
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2021
“Those who do… are living in a bubble. A man should be proud (of who he is and where he comes from). I have travelled the world and stayed in 5-star hotels, in 7-star hotels… but when I sit with people from my village… there is a fragrance that makes it special,” he added.
On February 9 the Prime Minister teared up as he praised his “true friend” Mr Azad, and said: “I (will) not let you retire, I will continue taking your advice. My doors are always open for you.”
Mr Azad returned the praise, noting that Prime Minister separated personal ties and party politics.
Mr Azad’s words – at a public event in Jammu – are likely to raise eyebrows (again) in the upper echelons of the Congress’ leadership, particularly since they come a day after he and several other senior leaders said they feared “the Congress getting weak” ahead of five key Assembly polls.
“The truth is that we see the Congress getting weak. That is why we have gathered. We gathered earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together,” Kapil Sibal said.