Olympian Aslam Sher Khan offers to be substitute for Rahul Gandhi as Cong boss
Former union minister and hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan has offered to step into Rahul Gandhi’s shoes as the Congress president for a period of two years in a letter that not too many senior Congressmen are taking seriously.
Khan is the first leader to stake claim to the post after Gandhi offered his resignation at the Congress Working Committee meeting in Delhi on May 25 following the debacle in general elections.
The party’s highest decision-making body unanimously rejected the offer and passed a resolution, authorising Gandhi to revamp the organisation.
A large number of Congress leaders from across the country and heads of alliance parties have urged Gandhi to reconsider his decision. In a letter to the Congress president on May 27, Khan wrote: “...I would like to offer my services to the party and take responsibility as a provisional Congress president for a time-bound period of two years only.”
Khan, who was a member of the Indian hockey team that won the 1975 world cup at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, said he made the offer on the basis of his experience both as an international player and as a politician.
“As a hockey player, I have proven my capability to perform in such situations. When India was trailing 2-1 in the semi-final match of the 1975 world cup, I was given an opportunity to come on as a substitute in the dying moments of the game and used my resolve and self-belief to successfully score an equaliser for the Indian team. As history goes, Indian won the match and went on to lift the world cup trophy which is the only one till date,” he wrote.
The 65-year-old former Olympian — he participated in the 1972 Munich Olympics — who has occasionally been in the news with his critical remarks against a section in the Congress party seems to think he can be a super-sub again. In 2017, his statement against the then Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Arun Yadav prompted the state unit to announce that Khan was no longer associated with the party.
In 2017, his statement against the then Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Arun Yadav prompted the state unit to announce that Khan was no longer associated with the party.
He had also praised current chief minister Kamal Nath and senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and maintained that only these two could bring the Congress back to power in Madhya Pradesh in the 2018 assembly elections.
With Nath as the state Congress chief and Scindia as the campaign committee chairperson, the party defeated the BJP in 2018 and regained power after 15 years.
A Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson KK Mishra claimed that Khan had submitted his resignation letter to the then party chief Sonia Gandhi on September 5, 2016 and the same was accepted on September 13, 2016, a claim rubbished by the Olympian.
In his letter to Gandhi, Khan, a two-term Lok Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, wrote how he helped the Congress win 140 seats in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections barely months after he was appointed a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“If you decide to place your trust and confidence in me then I assure you that I will leave no stone unturned and make sure that the party scores that equaliser in two years’ time… But you are the best judge,” he wrote to Gandhi.