Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily on Friday told party President Rahul Gandhi to step in to curb dissidence in some state units, PTI reported on Friday.

“We are all concerned in the party,” Moily said, referring to reports of desertions in Telangana and Maharashtra. There have also been several reports of infighting in Congress units in Punjab and Rajasthan. “When leadership does not act, all these things will happen.”

Gandhi had offered to resign from the party’s top post on May 25 after the Congress party’s major setback in the Lok Sabha elections, in which it secured only 52 out of 543 Parliamentary seats. However, the Congress Working Committee had unanimously rejected the resignation.

Referring to Gandhi’s offer to resign, Moily said this was not the time to quit. “Unless he puts an alternative in place to handle the situation, I don’t think Rahul Gandhi should just leave the position,” the former Union minister and Karnataka chief minister was quoted as saying.

Moily said Gandhi should immediately take back his offer to resign and enforce discipline in the party, infusing “confidence, vigour and passion”. Gandhi should immediately take stock of the thing, the senior leader said, adding: “You cannot keep that post [Congress president] vacant. He has to step in; discipline has to be enforced, wherever there are problems, on a war-footing that have to be tackled.”

“Even if he wants to resign...not at this stage, he has to take very firm action, people who cannot deliver goods have to be removed at state level and other places, he cannot just leave,” Moily added. “He has to assert himself and put the party in order. That’s his duty.”

The former Union minister added that Congress should not be frustrated by its loss in the Lok Sabha elections, and predicted that the party will bounce back in the future. “Desperate attempts to deprive the Congress of its rightful place in the national scenario is not good and appropriate,” he added.

“Reasons can be gone into for the defeat, but at the same time, keeping the party intact and together is very important,” Moily said. “Opposition should not allowed to take advantage of the defeat of Congress.”