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Mallikarjun Kharge says they would force Rahul Gandhi to become Congress chief again, a day after Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed him for party’s downfall

The statement came a day after party veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, in his resignation letter addressed to the present party supremo Sonia Gandhi, blamed Rahul Gandhi for the party’s failure in elections and said that the Gandhi scion was the reason Congress lost its political space to the BJP.

Congress senior leader and the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the party would force Rahul Gandhi to return as Congress President as there is no one else in the party other than him who has a pan-India appeal. He added that Rahul Gandhi is needed for the unification of India.

The statement came a day after party veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, in his resignation letter addressed to the present party supremo Sonia Gandhi, blamed Rahul Gandhi for the party’s failure in elections and said that the Gandhi scion was the reason Congress lost its political space to the BJP.

Azad had catalogued the “childish behaviour, glaring immaturity” of Rahul Gandhi who he said has also demolished the “consultative mechanism within the party”.

In his letter, Azad had pulled up a ‘non-serious’ Rahul Gandhi for infamously tearing a copy of the ordinance, approved by the UPA Cabinet. The veteran Congress leader suggested that the decisions of the grand old party are now being made by the Personal assistants and security guards of Rahul Gandhi.

Only Rahul Gandhi has pan-India appeal: Kharge

While Azad squarely blamed Rahul Gandhi for the downfall of the Congress, Kharge could not stop singing accolades for the Gandhi scion. While speaking to the Press Trust of India on Friday, Kharge stated that anyone aspiring to lead the party should be well-known throughout the country and enjoy support from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, West Bengal to Gujarat, and he believes that the Gandhi scion is the only one in Congress who holds such wide acceptance.

“He should be a well-recognised, accepted man to the entire Congress party. So, nobody is there (in the party with such a stature),” Kharge opined.

Requesting Rahul Gandhi to “come and fight”, Kharge recounted how all senior party leaders “forced” Sonia Gandhi to join and work for the party.

“You tell me the alternative. Who is there? (in the party other than Rahul Gandhi)”, Kharge asked.

In response to claims that Rahul Gandhi is unwilling to take the reins, Kharge stated that he will be urged to do so “for the sake of the party, for the sake of the country, for fighting the RSS-BJP and to keep the country united”.

Further referring to the party’s upcoming “Bharat Jodo Yatra”, Kharge said that Rahul Gandhi is needed to “Jodo Bharat”.

“We will ask him, we will force him and request him (to return as Congress President). We stand behind him. We will try to pursue him”, Kharge added.

Condemning Ghulam Nabi Azad remarks’s against the Gandhi scion, the LoP in Rajya Sabha further added, “Attack on Rahul Gandhi is not right because you know all members of that family personally. Sonia Gandhi has always taken advice from you. You were a part of CWC meetings & Core Committee meetings.”

Notably, the Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, will convene a virtual meeting on Sunday to finalise the dates for the Congress president’s election. The CWC meeting will be presided over by Sonia Gandhi. Several politicians have publicly urged Rahul Gandhi to return to the helm of the party. However, according to some party sources, Rahul Gandhi is sticking to his position that he will not be Congress chief.

It may be recalled that the Congress was due to elect a full-fledged party president by June 2021 end. However, the CWC in its meeting held on May 10, 2021, had deferred the election citing the second wave of COVID-19. The party has since then not fixed a timeline for the next election.

Power seesaw between Congress and its president

Rahul Gandhi was the party president during the 2019 general elections but he had decided to ‘step down’ taking ‘moral responsibility’ of the party’s defeat as well as his own humiliating defeat in the Nehru-Gandhi family bastion, Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani. Rahul Gandhi contested from two seats and managed to win the Wayanad seat.

The post of Congress president remained vacant since party leader Rahul Gandhi resigned after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Since then, Sonia Gandhi is leading the party as interim president.

She was also the party president for nearly twenty years before handing over the business to her son Rahul Gandhi.

Interestingly, in 2021, during a key meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Sonia Gandhi had attempted to put herself forth as the only viable contender for the position. In her opening remarks at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, Sonia Gandhi said: “I am, if you will allow me to say so, a full-time and hands-on Congress President.” Sonia Gandhi added that in the last two years since she has taken up the role of the interim president she has never let any issue of public importance or concern go unaddressed.

In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi has also said that he will consider becoming the Congress party president again.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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