Senior Congress leader from Kerala Shashi Tharoor has said that the party needs to find a new full-term president to counter the perception that it is “rudderless”.
He also said that it is unfair to be expecting Sonia Gandhi to carry interim chief’s burden indefinitely.
“Congress needs to expedite process of finding full-term president to arrest perception of being rudderless and adrift,” Tharoor said on Sunday.
His comments come just ahead of Sonia Gandhi completing one year as interim chief on August 10.
“I certainly believe we should be clear about our leadership going forward. I welcomed Sonia ji’s appointment as interim president last year, but I do believe it’s unfair to her to expect her to carry this burden indefinitely,” Tharoor told news agency PTI.
Tharoor also said that he certainly thinks Rahul Gandhi has the “mettle, capability and aptitude to once again lead the party”, but if he does not wish to do so then the party must “take action” to elect a new chief.
A section of the Congress has started demanding that Rahul Gandhi should return to the post he gave up in May 2019, owning responsibility for the party’s rout in the general elections.
The demands came in three meetings – the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on June 23; at Sonia Gandhi’s deliberations with the party’s Lok Sabha members on July 11; and during her interaction with the party’s Rajya Sabha MPs on July 30.
One Congress leader said on condition of anonymity that he sees it as the responsibility of Rahul Gandhi to assuage the concerns of both veterans and members of the young brigade because there is visible unease between the two groups over the leadership issue and their future in the party.
His reference is to the long-simmering conflict between the party’s old guard and its younger members – which came to fore most recently during Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with Rajya Sabha MPs.
While Sonia Gandhi is not keen to continue in the post, Rahul Gandhi has not shown any inclination to take up the responsibility.
Tharoor said that Rahul Gandhi has done a remarkable job in holding the present government accountable for its actions and failures.
“Through his activities during this lockdown, whether it has been on the issue of the COVID-19 virus or Chinese transgressions, Rahul Gandhi has without a question and almost single-handedly done a remarkable job in holding the present government accountable for its actions and failures,” the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.
Experts have said the clamour for Gandhi’s ascendancy to Congress president once again highlights the fact that the party does not want to take the tougher route of holding elections and finding a new leader from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family.