With Rahul Gandhi remaining aloof and firm on his resignation as party chief, and regional leaders locked in factional feuds, former Union minister M Veerappa Moily warned Friday that “inaction” will be very “costly for the Congress”.
Moily also asked Rahul to “reign over the party” and “quell” indiscipline, but said that if “if he wants to leave, he has to hand it (the reins of the Congress) over to the right person, right hands”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the senior Congress leader said that “people are raising their voice here and there” because of the current inactivity. He said the party “cannot be in a relaxed state” and argued that its “unity and integrity” have to be kept intact.
Moily pointed out that the Congress had not seen a single split or division after Sonia Gandhi took over as party president from Sitaram Kesri in 1998. That trend, he said, will have to be continued.
“He (Rahul) has to set things right. Even if he wants to leave, he has to hand it over to the right person, right hands. And it should not lead to decelerating the Congress unity and stability. You should not allow that. When there is a deceleration, factional feuds will take place, disunity will take place. I don’t think that can be done. He has to reign over the party. It is a crucial time. He has a national duty, not only duty to the party, to build this party, sustain the party, and its unity and stability,” he said.
Moily, who lost the Lok Sabha election from Chikkaballapur in Karnataka, said the “party cannot be in a relaxed state”. “Ultimately, the unity and integrity in the party has to be kept always. One or two defeats in elections should not deter our party leaders. He (Rahul) has to…quell indiscipline,” he said.
“After Sonia Gandhi took over the reins of the Congress party from Sitaram Kesri, there had been unity and stability in the party. There was no division, no split. So that trend will have to be continued. Just because there has been two defeats…it cannot (affect the party’s unity),” he said.
“Democracy in this country is very much wedded to the stability of the Indian National Congress…by serving and strengthening the Congress party, we are not only serving the party, but strengthening the democracy of the country,” he said.
“Even if he wants to step down, of course the rank and file of the party do not want Rahul Gandhi to step down because he has given that kind of absolute leadership and strength to the party…success or failure cannot be gauged by that…He has to put the Congress on the right lines and then only leave. Not before,” he said.
Asked whether the inactivity was triggering factional feuds, Moily said: “That is how people are raising their voice here and there. That has to be quelled at any cost. It has to be done either by Sonia Gandhi or by the Congress president.”
On whether Sonia should take charge now, he said: “I am not telling you that. It is left to them…but Sonia Gandhi along with Rahul Gandhi will have to reign and stop all these. Inaction is very costly for the Congress, costly for the democracy of the country.”