Rahul ready to take over as Congress president: Amarinder
The new Congress president should be appointed through consensus and not election as it helps to bind the party and Rahul Gandhi is certainly up to it, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Sunday.
He also said that it was up to Sonia Gandhi whether she will continue as party chief for another term and the party will be happy if she decides so.
Amarinder, however, favoured projection of regional leaders in Congress and making them the party's face in each state ahead of assembly elections. "Elections are always bitter and consensus keeps the party together. There should be a consensus on the party president. You don't have any bad blood. It is all happening in a happy way," he said in an interview. The organisational election process within the Congress party is underway and the new party chief has to be elected by October 15.
On Sonia Gandhi, he said it will be entirely her call on whether to continue for another term till 2019.
"She has worked very hard. If she wants to stay, I think the party will be too happy. If she wants to go, I think Rahul is in a position to take over... . As party Vice President, I have been dealing with him for 2-3 years, I find that he is certainly up to it," he said. He, however, said his impression is that she feels she has done enough.
She has not had time off for the last 20 years, which is a long time, ever since she took over as party chief in 2017, Amarinder said. Asked whether he prefers someone other that a member of the Gandhi family to lead the party, he said traditionally the Congress has been headed by a member of the Nehru Gandhi family.
From Motilal Nehru to Jawaharlal Nehru and then Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, except for some leaders in between, he said. "I am going to vote for Rahul. Who else do we have," he said. Asked what is holding Rahul back from taking over, the Punjab leader said he is already going through the process.
"I think one must not write off Rahul. People are trying to write him off. They are trying to fob him off, calling him childish names. That is unnecessary. I think he is very perceptive and very decisive," he said.
On promoting regional talent within the party, Amarinder said every state has regional leaders unlike in the past and the Congress has to project them ahead of elections, as people these days vote for a face.