Rajasthan truce sealed, chorus for Rahul Gandhi as Congress chief picks pace
The Rajasthan crisis ended soon after Sachin Pilot met Rahul Gandhi on Monday afternoon. As a way out and to assuage the sentiments of all sides, the party then decided to form a three-member committee to address the grievances of the rebel legislators, including Pilot.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 22:05 IST
Congress leaders on Tuesday jostled to give credit to Rahul Gandhi in ending the rebellion in its Rajasthan unit that threatened the survival of its government, and urged him to once again assume the reins of the organisation.
The renewed bid to persuade Rahul Gandhi to accept the responsibility came a day after Sonia Gandhi completed one year as an interim Congress president on Monday.
“The entire country witnessed as to how after 30 days now the political events in Rajasthan have come to a close. This was made possible on account of the vision and the belief of Rahul Gandhi in carrying all Congress leaders together bereft of any differences of opinion,” party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, addressing a virtual news conference.
“It was due to his farsightedness and nature of carrying along everybody that we were able to resolve the differences. He was also helped by the cooperation and assistance given by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,” he said, praising both Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot.
The crisis ended soon after Pilot met Rahul Gandhi on Monday afternoon. As a way out and to assuage the sentiments of all sides, the party then decided to form a three-member committee to address the grievances of the rebel legislators, including Pilot.
In the evening, Pilot and 17 other legislators supporting him met Ahmed Patel, Priyanka Gandhi and KC Venugopal to seek an assurance that the issues raised by them would be resolved amicably.
Asked if Rahul Gandhi will take up the Congress president’s post now, Surjewala said not 99% but 100% of Congress leaders and workers want him to assume the responsibility once again.
“Not because he is Rahul Gandhi but because he is the person who has always shown the courage and the mettle to take on the Modi government by pointing out and criticising its anti-people policies,” he added.
Referring to claims that Rahul Gandhi has refused to return as the party chief, Surjewala said, “I don’t think that anyone of us has recently spoken to him on the issue. When he resigned, he resigned on moral grounds and took moral responsibility (for the 2019 Lok Sabha election loss). What will happen in the future is not for me to comment upon. I am certain that good things will happen in future.”
He added the decision will be taken by Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and the party at an appropriate time.
Senior Congress leader from Kerala, Ramesh Chennithala, also appealed to Rahul Gandhi to once again assume the party chief’s role to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“We are passing through an unprecedented crisis and Madam Sonia Gandhi has been struggling despite her health issues to rudder these tempestuous times,” Chennithala said in a letter to Rahul Gandhi.
He alleged that the combine of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah had “subverted” the basic principles of democracy, resulting in the fall of Congress governments in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
A similar attempt made in Rajasthan was, however, thwarted by Rahul Gandhi’s swift action, Chennithala said.
To match the BJP’s “crooked and robustness”, he said a young and dynamic leadership is needed at the helm of affairs.
He added the nation had “appreciated” the highest democratic principles shown by him and it was time that he reconsidered the decision as the crucial assembly polls to Bihar and five other states were due in nine months.
“The grassroots level workers are eagerly waiting for Rahulji to take over the reins of the party. This will infuse unmatched enthusiasm among our cadres and will catapult our party towards recapturing the past glory,” Chennithala said.
“Be it the pseudo-nationalism or the ‘mismanagement’ of the Covid-19 pandemic, the high handedness of enacting the CAA (citizenship law), or the total failure of diplomacy on handling the India-China border crisis, the country heard only one dissent and that was from you,” he added.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi also lauded Rahul Gandhi and his team for ending the stalemate in Rajasthan.
“Today because of the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and the efforts of Priyanka Gandhi we have managed to keep one of our own Sachin Pilot with us. This is the democratic spirit of our party where there is room for dissent and debate,” tweeted former union minister Jitin Prasada.
In a related development, the party has informed the Election Commission (EC) that Sonia Gandhi will continue to hold the post till a new president is elected. As per rules, a political party has to inform the poll body about its internal elections.
In its letter, the party told the EC the process of electing a new president could not be initiated due to the coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown enforced since March 25 to contain the pandemic.
Soon after Sonia Gandhi’s appointment as the party’s interim chief on August 10 last year, there were assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana in October-November followed by polls in Jharkhand and Delhi and then the Covid-19 struck.