Another Thumbs Up For Rahul Gandhi: He Isn’t ‘Pappu’ Anymore

The second BJP ally from Maharashtra Mr. Ramdas Athawale, to say that Rahul Gandhi’s leadership capabilities have improved and that he is no more ‘Pappu’, a reference to the Congress Vice President, says after Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

“He is not ‘Pappu’ anymore. He looks confident and hopefully can be a good leader,” Mr Athawale, who is Union Minister for State for Social Justice, told reporters in Akola in east Maharashtra, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

A four-time parliamentarian from Maharashtra, Mr Athawale is the founder-leader of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), a member of the NDA, the national alliance that the BJP leads.

Mr Athawale, 57, is the first Union Minister to speak about Rahul Gandhi in a positive light after Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said Rahul Gandhi “is capable of leading the country,” also taking a dig at partner BJP when he said that the “Modi wave has faded.” Mr Raut said that Rahul Gandhi, designated “Pappu” a few years ago, cannot be called that anymore, praising his election campaign against the BJP in Gujarat, where assembly elections will be held in December.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP has warned the Shiv Sena to stop playing “the roles of a ruling party and an opposition at the same time”.
The Shiv Sena, the second largest constituent of the BJP-led NDA has been in a strained relationship with the BJP for many months now, threatening every now and then to end the alliance. Mr Fadnavis said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray should decide, prompting Mr Raut to clarify that he did not mean Rahul Gandhi should lead the country and was only speaking about the Congress leader’s improved capabilities.

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