Personal Attacks On My Son Have Made Him Fearless: Sonia Gandhi

Unprecedented challenges present before the country wit atmosphere of fear prevailing since 2014, but we are not going to get scared, she said.

Personal Attacks On My Son Have Made Him Fearless: Sonia Gandhi

Outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said gave an emotional speech as son Rahul Gandhi officialy takes charge of the party.

Firecrackers by party workers greeted Gandhi, interrupting her speech many times. 

Sonia Gandhi congratulated Rahul Gandhi on his elevation as the Congress president. 

Unprecedented challenges present before the country with atmosphere of fear prevailing since 2014, but we are not going to get scared, she said, however adding that it is also time for the Congress party to introspect and make sacrifices if need be to protect the country's democratic values.

As the Gujarat Assembly Elections and the bitter war of words between the Congress and the BJP ends, Gandhi said personal attacks on her son Rahul have made him a fearless person. 

Once dubbed the "reluctant prince", Rahul Gandhi today took over the reins of the Congress, signalling not just the coming of age of the heir apparent, but a generational change in the 132-year-old party.

The new party president, the sixth member of the Nehru- Gandhi family to lead the political outfit, takes charge from his mother Sonia Gandhi at a time when the party is facing one of its worst crises, with the BJP occupying the centrestage of national and state politics.

But the 47-year-old Amethi MP, formally elevated to the party president's post today, has taken the Narendra Modi government on with a renewed vigour of late.

Observers believe his demeanour has changed in the last few months. Dressed in his white kurta and pyjamas, wearing sneakers and a jacket in winter, he looks more mature and speaks a language that connects with the people.

He has been taking potshots at the Modi government on Twitter, often using colourful and popular cultural idioms.

The Gandhi scion has described the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the "Gabbar Singh Tax", called the government a "suit-boot ki sarkar", referred to a "fair and lovely tax" and even brought in his dog, Piddi, to score political brownie points.

Though it has often been said that he lacks the charisma of his mother and grandmother, or the ease with which his younger sister, Priyanka, reaches out to people, Gandhi has seemingly found his feet and confidence.

For the younger leaders of the party, he spells hope in the current political maelstrom, but Gandhi has also said he will take the old guard, along with the new.

"Every post comes with a challenge. He has to rebuild the party at the grassroots and strengthen its ideological base," said Sushmita Dev, a close confidant of Rahul Gandhi and one of the young leaders of the party.

The 17th Congress president since Independence was ushered to the centrestage of politics when he won from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in 2004, a seat which was represented by his father Rajiv Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha earlier, and made his first mark in Parliament when he spoke passionately about Vidarbha farm widow Kalavati.

(Inputs from agencies)