Politics

Shiv Sena wades into Congress’ leadership debate, says ‘stopping Rahul will lead to extinction of party’

Wading into the ongoing leadership debate in the Congress party, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said that stopping party leader Rahul Gandhi from taking over leadership of the party will lead to “extinction” of the grand old party.

Raut in his weekly column in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana also said Congress lacks a leader who can stand up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with full might.

Commenting on the letter of dissent sent to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi by 23 party leaders, the Shiv Sena wondered who is stopping them from being active.

“Activeness to stop Rahul Gandhi will be instrumental in destroying the party and lead to its extinction,” Raut said.

Raut whose party is part of the coalition government in Maharashtra along with Congress and NCP, said that a non-Gandhi as Congress president is a good idea, but no one in those 23 has that capability.

“Congress veteran late VN Gadgil described the Congress as an old woman who will never die. Rahul Gandhi has to decide what to do with the old lady,” the Shiv Sena leader added, PTI reported.

Letter of dissent triggers flutter in Congress

Around 23 Congress leaders had written to Sonia Gandhi demanding sweeping organisational reforms, a collective leadership and an “active, full-time and visible” president.

The signatories to the letter included Azad, Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma, PJ Kurien, Renuka Chaudhary, Milind Deora and Ajay Singh.

Reacting to the letter, Sonia had said that she does not hold anything or any kind of “ill-will” against any of her colleagues irrespective of how hurtful were the remarks made by them.

The Congress chief had also said she considers everyone part of the Congress family, which may have differences, but it should remain together to fight for the cause of the people.

Earlier this week, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was one of the signatories to the letter of “dissident”, has said that the party is at the “historic low” and will continue to sit in the opposition for the “next 50 years” if elections to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and key organisational posts are not held.

“For the last many decades, we do not have elected bodies in the party. Maybe we should have pushed for it 10-15 yrs ago. Now we are losing elections after elections, and if we have to come back we need to strengthen our party by holding elections,” Azad says.

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