With a new book quoting AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as having said that she fully agreed with her brother Rahul Gandhi that a non-Gandhi should be president of the party, the Congress Wednesday swung into action, saying she had made those remarks over a year ago and party workers now want Rahul Gandhi to return as party chief.
Rahul and Priyanka, however, remained silent about their interviews in the book which came out last week. The party was also silent on Rahul’s remark in the interview that he doesn’t need to be the Congress president to “fight for the Congress party or to work on strengthening it”.
Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said Rahul had in 2019 shown the “courage of conviction” and stepped down as Congress president. He said in 2004, Sonia Gandhi had “set an example by sacrificing power to serve the party”.
Surjewala said the Congress appreciates “the sudden media interest (egged on by BJP) in a year-old remark (Dated 1st July, 2019) of Smt. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The context today is to take on the vicious attack on India’s polity by Modi-Shah dispensation and fight it fearlessly on front foot. Millions of Congress workers and leaders have seen that Rahul Gandhi has led the fight tirelessly, undaunted by the setbacks and vile attacks by the Modi government on a daily basis. It is this fearlessness and uncompromising courage that Congress requires, workers respect and nation needs.”
Asked about Priyanka’s remarks, party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil at the AICC press conference said “yeh us samay ka mat tha (that was the opinion then)…one year ago on July 1, 2019”. “It was the opinion of Rahul Gandhi too…and the Working Committee had decided that he should continue as the President,” Gohil said, adding that Congress workers across the country today want that Rahul Gandhi “should lead us.” He, however, added that the Congress Working Committee and AICC has the final say in such matters.
The Congress Working Committee had on August 10 last year accepted Rahul’s decision to step down and brought back Sonia Gandhi as the interim president.
The interviews are part of the book “India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders”, authored by Pradeep Chhibber and Harsh Shah, which came out last week.