'Will ask... force him': Congress leader on Rahul Gandhi's return as party boss | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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'Will ask... force him': Congress leader on Rahul Gandhi's return as party boss

Aug 27, 2022 04:42 PM IST

Mallikarjun Kharge, a Congress MP and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, referred to the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' and said Rahul Gandhi would be needed.

Rahul Gandhi will be 'forced' to return as Congress president because there is nobody else who has a pan-India appeal, senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Mallikarjun Kharge said Saturday. Kharge declared prospective presidential candidates had to be 'well-recognised, accepted (by) the entire Congress party' and that there was only one such person.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge speaks during Venkaiah Naidu's farewell ceremony, at Parliament House Complex in Delhi. (ANI Photo/Sansad TV)(ANI)
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge speaks during Venkaiah Naidu's farewell ceremony, at Parliament House Complex in Delhi. (ANI Photo/Sansad TV)(ANI)

"So, nobody is there... you tell me the alternative. Who is there (apart from Rahul Gandhi)?" Kharge told news agency PTI, pointing out that senior Congress leaders had similarly 'forced' Sonia Gandhi to join and work for the party and asked Rahul Gandhi to 'come and fight'.

On reports Rahul Gandhi is unwilling to return to the post he quit after the party's disastrous performance in the 2019 election, Kharge said the Wayanad MP would be 'requested' to take charge 'for the sake of the party'.

READ | Jyotiraditya Scindia's 'Azad' quip after Congress veteran's resignation

Kharge also referred to the Congress' forthcoming 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' and said Rahul Gandhi would be needed for the 'Jodo Bharat' mission.

"We will ask him, we will force him and request him (to return as Congress president). We stand behind him. We will try to pursue him," he said.

The Congress Working Committee - the party's highest decision-making body - is to meet Sunday to approve the dates and schedule to elect a new party boss - an undertaking long since demanded by a section of senior leaders.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the members, quit the party Friday in dramatic fashion, with a letter that ripped into the 'coterie' that runs the Congress.

He called Sonia Gandhi a 'figurehead' and declared that decisions were being taken either by Rahul Gandhi - still unwilling to assume the post that goes with the authority to make decisions - 'or, worse, security guards and PAs'.

Furore surrounding the Gandhis' control of the Congress has ebbed and flowed since 2019 - the party's second consecutive humiliating loss in Lok Sabha polls.

Facing a string of Assembly election defeat since, an under-pressure Sonia Gandhi offered to resign but Gandhi loyalists fought back against the G-23 and she was persuaded to continue.

With input from PTI

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