A day after senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said the party could not “analyse the reasons” for its defeat in the Lok Sabha elections because Rahul Gandhi had “walked away”, CWC member Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday that there was need to “introspect” and carry out “corrective” steps if needed.
However, veteran leader M Veerappa Moily argued that Rahul had not “deserted” the party, and rejected Khurshid’s statement as “outdated.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Scindia said: “Of course, there is a need for introspection. There are no two ways about that. There is nothing wrong in saying that. Not only introspection, but take some correctives also.” Asked how the party should carry out the introspection, he said, “that is for the party to decide… how can I say that.”
Scindia, however, declined to comment on Khurshid’s remarks about Rahul. “I don’t comment on what other people say,” he said.
The Congress high command, meanwhile, asked its leaders not to make “side comments”, and focus on “exposing” the BJP government instead.
Asked about Khurshid’s remarks, party spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters: “Let Salman Khurshid give you the answers. You have got his answers. He said it, and he has also given you the answers… as far as the party is concerned, we are working for the Haryana and Maharashtra elections, working together, working with every possible strength that we can derive from everywhere. People should avoid making side comments and should actually expose this government for its follies, which are aplenty.”
While Khurshid stuck to his remarks, Moily said: “It is not now… ever since the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi wanted to give up the leadership. But he did perform. It was not a reflection of his defeat… it was not only him… everyone of us believed that the Congress would come back. But Balakot and surgical strikes… changed the whole scenario.”
“He (Rahul) thinks he wants to have a gap… that is why he has gone. Even now, he has gone for some meditation. He is not running away from active politics. He only said that he does not want to head the Congress. He thought that let there be a change. That is how Sonia Gandhi has taken over. She is very capable of managing the crisis… It is not that he (Rahul) has left a vacuum,” Moily told The Indian Express.
Denying that Rahul had “deserted” the Congress, Moily said: “That is an overestimation. The crisis has to be managed and it will be managed.”
On Rahul’s trip abroad in the midst of campaigning for the Haryana and Maharashtra elections, Moily said: “Normally, he goes for meditation. This time also, he has done so. He may come for the elections. It is not that he is running away from the responsibility. He is the last person to run away from the responsibility.”