Amid talks that Rahul Gandhi could soon become Congress president, party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit on Sunday said Sonia Gandhi is the “leader” for “99 per cent of” partymen and she is needed at the helm at this time more than ever in the past. “For 97 to 99 per cent of Congressmen, their leader is Sonia Gandhi and there is no doubt about this fact,” he said in an interview.
Making it clear that he was speaking in his personal capacity, Dikshit insisted that “I am not against anybody. We need Sonia Gandhi as our leader”. The refrain of Dikshit, a two-time MP and the son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, was that “Sonia Gandhi can transfer presidentship of the party to anyone, bequeath the presidentship to anyone she wants, but she cannot bequeath her leadership to anybody she wants”.
Dikshit said “when opposition needs a coalition of forces, she is the most credible leader”. The Congress chief had recently lead a march of opposition leaders to the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the land bill issue. Besides, Dikshit said that no one doubted her secular and left of the centre credentials. “After the defeat of 2014, she has taken us back to popular form of politics. Street politics with a topic that catches imagination of almost all Indians,” Dikshit said, adding that “no one in the Congress today has the same sense of timing, capability to organise, capacity to assimilate everybody” as Sonia Gandhi.
“When elections are held in the Congress, we need her and only her as Congress President and leader. The need for her today is more than in 1998,” he insisted. “She is my leader,” he said, adding as of today, Sonia Gandhi is the “only leader” who has the capacity to build Congress into a political unit. “She is much more in consonance with Congress thinking and ideology. Most Congressmen are comfortable working with her and nobody else.
“She understands and is able to pick up political issues. She understands which is a political issue and which is a party issue. You win elections through political issues and not party issues. She has a great capacity of assimilation and putting things together and you can reach out to her,” he said. Recalling her contribution since taking over as party chief in 1998 when the party was in a state of collapse, Dikshit said that she almost singlehandedly won the 2004 elections.
Sonia Gandhi also maintained a “balanced equation” between government and the party, Dikshit said adding that “I personally feel that she was much more liberal than she should have been”. The remarks of Dikshit come at a time when Rahul Gandhi, the party Vice President, is expected to be back soon from his
There is talk that he could become Congress President as early as May despite the fact that the schedule for organisational elections including for the President’s post is out. Reports have spoken about possibility of a meeting of the Congress Working Committee and a meeting of the AICC either at Delhi or in party-ruled Himchal Pradesh or Uttarkhand in May is being talked about for the purpose. Senior leaders say that the issue of Congress President will gain momentum after the return of Rahul. Party Chief Sonia Gandhi told the media in Amethi last week that Rahul will be “back soon”.