A file photo of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Photo: PTI
A file photo of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Photo: PTI

Congress speaks in different voices over leadership issue

Ambika Soni insists the party needs Sonia Gandhi as president; Digvijay Singh pitches for Rahul Gandhi, calling for a 'generational change'

New Delhi: Different voices emerged from Congress on Monday on the leadership issue with senior leader Ambika Soni insisting that the party needs Sonia Gandhi as president while party general secretary Digvijay Singh pitched for Rahul Gandhi, saying a “generational change has to take place".

“There is no question of having one at the cost of the other. Congress president is our president. We need her. And you see in few days she has been moving from state, meeting farmers, getting party energised. The whole party is upbeat," Soni told reporters.

Brushing aside questions that party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit’s remarks indicated that Rahul is not wanted by some in the party amid talk of his possible elevation as Congress president, Soni made a strong defence of Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul is on a sabbatical for more than a month and is expected to be back within two weeks. Dikshit, speaking in his personal capacity, has sparked off a debate in Congress with his remarks that Sonia is the “leader" for “99% of" partymen and she is needed at the helm at this time more than ever in the past.

Speaking separately, Digvijay Singh insisted that a generational change has to take place, wondering “can you defy the law of nature?". “A generational change has to take place. It is the law of nature. Can you defy the law of nature", Singh, who is a senior All India Congress Committee general secretary, told reporters.

Singh at the outset made it clear that it was for the Congress president to decide on the next party chief. “Leave that to the leader", he remarked when asked as to when a change at the top will be possible.

“It is for her to decide. She is the leader and she shall remain the leader." He said that the Congress Working Committee was “supreme" to take a decision on the issue and it could be ratified by the AICC.