‘US or India, Leader’s Character Matters Everywhere’: Sam Pitroda

Sam Pitroda talks about Trump presidency, impeachment, and lessons India can learn from the events in the US.

Published
Opinion
2 min read

Satyan Pitroda has been living in the US for nearly 55 years. Most people know him as Sam Pitroda, a technocrat heading Indian National Congress’s overseas wing. Shocked by the scenes of violence and infamy from Capitol Hill, Pitroda expresses concerns about the state of democracy in India. “There are lessons for the whole world in what happened in the US on 6 January.”

In this exclusive interview with The Quint, Pitroda talks about Trump’s divisive politics, social media fuelling hate, and breakdown of institutions in the US. At the same time, he sounds alert for parallel situations in India.

Pitroda advised former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on matters pertaining to technology and in 2017, he was appointed as Chairman of Indian Overseas Congress. When asked about the current climate of dissent in the Congress party, he replies that this was a healthy practice. “Nothing should happen too early. There will be a good time for this,” he gave a cryptic answer.

New Delhi: Congress leaders Sam Pitroda and Manmohan Singh during the 84th plenary session of Indian National Congress at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on March 17, 2018. 
New Delhi: Congress leaders Sam Pitroda and Manmohan Singh during the 84th plenary session of Indian National Congress at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on March 17, 2018. 
(Photo: IANS)

Pitroda insists that the character of the leader matters the most. If a political party decides to back a divisive candidate for immediate gains, there are bound to be repercussions.

“A national leader has to be a leader for everybody and for a group of people.”

He also expresses concerns regarding leaders getting a licence from their parties to lie and fabricate facts just for electoral gains. When questioned about the role of the opposition in such a scenario, he responds with a counter question. “Why not examine the role of citizens, institutions and businesses before questioning the opposition? When people choose to believe the lies, the opposition cannot do much.”

Stressing on the ‘character’ of political parties, Pitroda says that a drift away from fundamental values are bound to damage not just the party but the country at large.

Pitroda, a communications entrepreneur and innovator, also calls into question the role of social media in peddling problematic narratives.

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