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Amarinder Singh backs Priyanka Gandhi for Congress president post

Amarinder Singh said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has the intelligence and instinct to understand and relate to the needs of the nation, and the courage to take on any challenge.

chandigarh Updated: Jul 30, 2019 07:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Chandigarh
Punjab chief minister Captain (retd) Amarinder Singh on Monday backed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the post of party president.
Punjab chief minister Captain (retd) Amarinder Singh on Monday backed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the post of party president.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
         

Punjab chief minister Captain (retd) Amarinder Singh on Monday backed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the post of party president.

Singh said she would get all-round support if chosen to take over as Congress president. “India is a young nation, and will respond to a young leader,” he told journalists here, regretting the decision of Rahul Gandhi to step down from the top party post.

The chief minister said Priyanka Gandhi would be the perfect choice to take over the party’s reins but added that everything depends on the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which is authorised to take a decision in the matter. The chief minister was responding to a question on what he thought of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s statement that Priyanka would be a good choice for party president.

Soon after the Congress’ poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections (it won just 52 seats) -- the second successive poor performance by the party (it won 44 in 2014) -- its president Rahul Gandhi resigned, although the CWC is yet to accept the resignation. Since then, the party has dragged its feet on finding a successor. Singh has been a vocal advocate of identifying a young president -- something he stressed in an op-ed in this newspaper too.

On Monday, Singh said the Congress needs a dynamic young leader to rebuild it after its performance in the Lok sabha elections. “She has the intelligence and instinct to understand and relate to the needs of the nation, and also has the courage to take on any challenge. Given Rahul (Gandhi)’s refusal to take back his resignation, she is a good bet to replace him as the new leader,” he said.

Asked about the Punjab chief minister’s remark, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “I think you need to draw distinction when the party takes a stand; it takes a stand on issues which are extrinsic to the party. On matters, which are intrinsic to the party, since we are a democratic party, the people have a right to articulate their point of view. So, therefore, the party has a stand on matters which are extrinsic to the internal dynamics of the party and when you come to the internal dynamics of the party, you see inner party democracy playing itself out whereby people are entitled to articulate their point of view.”

Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik said the Congress is a sinking ship and it hardly matters who commands it now. “People have seen the impact of her Priyanka’s charisma in Eastern UP where she was the in-charge in recent LS polls. The suggestion has come because no other leader is willing to head the party. They all know the Congress has no political future now,” he said.

Prof Ashutosh Kumar, professor of political science, Panjab University, said Amarinder’s suggestion is spot on because a young leader is the need of the hour for the Congress in these trying times, but there is more to it as he is not the archetypal Gandhi family loyalist. “He not just does not want anyone from the old guard, but is also asserting his position as the only CM who has delivered in two successive elections,” he said.

First Published: Jul 30, 2019 00:47 IST

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