Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has seconded her brother and former party President Rahul Gandhi on the need for a non-Gandhi leader to take charge, The Print reported on Wednesday. Sonia Gandhi has been acting as the party’s interim chief for over a year now. Earlier this month, the Congress had announced that Sonia Gandhi will continue as the interim president of the party till a procedure was implemented to elect her successor.
“Perhaps not in the [resignation] letter but elsewhere, he has said that none of us should be the president of the party and I am in full agreement with him,” Vadra claimed in an interview in the book “India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders” by Pradeep Chhibber and Harsh Shah. “I think that the party should find its own path also.” The book was published on August 13.
Vadra said she would readily accept a non-Gandhi as her leader. “If he [party president] tells me tomorrow that he doesn’t want me in Uttar Pradesh but wants me to be in Andaman and Nicobar, then I would jolly well go to Andaman and Nicobar,” she was quoted as saying.
Her comments came at a time when the party has maintained that electing a new president has not been possible due to the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the infection.
Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor has also repeatedly called for elections to choose the next successor. On August 9, he had said the process of finding a new full-time party president had to be sped up amid the public perception that it was “adrift and rudderless”.
Rahul Gandhi resigned from the party’s president post in July 2019 as he held himself accountable for the party’s Lok Sabha election debacle and maintained that accountability would be critical for the party’s future growth. The Congress managed to win only 52 of 543 parliamentary seats in the Lok Sabha elections in May last year.
On August 17, suspended Congress leader Sanjay Jha claimed that nearly 100 people from the party have written to interim chief Sonia Gandhi, calling for a change in political leadership. But party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said no such letter was written by any member of the Congress and claimed it was a “misinformation campaign” engineered by the Bharatiya Janata Party.