The BJP has taken a dig at the Congress over demands of elevation for its vice president Rahul Gandhi as the party president, and said the country will move further towards Congress-free India if this happens.
“Though it’s an internal matter of the Congress, but if such a decision is taken, the country will move ahead in the direction of a Congress-free India,” Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told the media in New Delhi on Wednesday.
“When Rahul became the Congress vice president, the country moved in the direction of Congress-free India. If he becomes Congress president, it will move more in that direction,” he added.
Another party MP and Union power minister Piyush Goyal also said any such development will only strengthen BJP’s resolve for a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’.
“That only strengthens our case for a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’,” said Goyal.
There was high speculation surrounding elevation of the 45-year-old Gandhi family scion as the Congress president , but the party dismissed any such immediate possibility even as Sonia Gandhi remained tight lipped on the issue.
Sonia, who is on a visit to her constituency Rae Bareli, was asked to comment on media reports about Congressmen wanting Rahul to take over as the president, parried a questions from the media earlier on Wednesday.
“We are a national party. There are certain procedures... When it comes to Sonia and Rahul we all wholeheartedly accept (their leadership)... We all want Rahul to take over, as and when (it will happen), we will make a proper statement,” party spokesperson Sushmita Dev told reporters.
Replying to a volley of questions on the speculation over Rahul’s imminent elevation and also on the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi becoming active in UP where Assembly polls are scheduled next year, Dev said, “Speculation is the privilege of the media.”
Earlier in the day, Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh had said in Chandigarh that the time is right for Rahul to take over the mantle of the party from his mother and also favoured Priyanka’s entry into active politics.
“Sonia is a brilliant leader. I have said she has been working (as Congress chief) for the past 20 years. If she feels time has come to give it to a new generation, then she should pass it on and we will fully support Rahul,” he said.
A section in the party feels that Sonia should continue as the party chief, while another feels that the earlier Rahul takes over the reins the better.
Leaders like Jairam Ramesh have said earlier that Rahul will be party president in 2016.
Talk is that a meeting of the Congress Working Committee will be held this month to discuss threadbare the situation caused by the party’s debacle in the recent Assembly polls. Holding of a ‘Chintan Shivir’ to brainstorm over the losses, among other things, is also being talked about.
Rahul was made party vice-president in January 2013 at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir. Sonia has been at the helm of the party since March 1998 and has created a record of sorts.