‘Don’t take my name’: Priyanka Gandhi’s sharp message on Cong Prez job
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday vetoed a suggestion at a party meet that she assume the leadership role in the party after her brother Rahul, squarely telling her party that she did not want to be dragged into this. Priyanka Gandhi’s move is aimed at firmly spiking an idea that has been supported by several senior Congress leaders over the last few weeks.
A section of the Congress, including Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Thiruvananthapuram lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, has backed Priyanka Gandhi for the post of party president.
The suggestion came up again this morning at a meeting of Congress general secretaries and in-charge of states to discuss preparations for the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on August 20.
Priyanka Gandhi’s response came when a senior Congress leader, in course of this meeting, suggested that she should come forward and assume the leadership role, a party functionary familiar with the developments said.
Priyanka Gandhi firmly told him and others present to desist from taking her name as her brother’s replacement. “Don’t drag me into this,” she was quoted as saying by Congress leader.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been in exit mode ever since he announced his decision to resign from the top post to the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body. When someone proposed that sister Priyanka replace him, he had firmly rejected the idea and said that the next president shouldn’t be from the Gandhi family.
But most Congress leaders had assumed that Rahul Gandhi could be persuaded to continue.
It took some time for party leaders to figure that the 49-year-old Congress chief was determined to stick to his decision. Rahul Gandhi helped drive this message home by putting out a four-page farewell note in early July.
The ongoing leadership crisis in the Congress forced UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to step up her own involvement in Parliament during the ongoing Budget session.
Senior Congress leaders at Thursday’s meeting decided to hold the Congress Working Committee soon after the budget session of Parliament to take a call on Rahul Gandhi’s resignation and to select his successor.
The meeting, the party functionary quoted above, said also discussed various possibilities such as having a provisional president till the next Congress chief is elected, holding elections to the top party post or accepting Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion in his July 3 farewell note to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president.