No confusion on Congress leadership, says Rahul Gandhi

The former Congress chief asserts that he had made his decision regarding upcoming presidential polls in party

September 09, 2022 05:29 pm | Updated September 10, 2022 07:56 am IST - Kanniyakumari

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses media persons at Puliyoorkurichi in Kanniyakumari district on September 9, 2022

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses media persons at Puliyoorkurichi in Kanniyakumari district on September 9, 2022 | Photo Credit: A. Shaikmohideen

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday asserted that he had made his decision regarding the upcoming presidential election in the party and there is no “confusion” in his mind.

Though he did not spell out his decision, Mr. Gandhi dropped a clear hint by insisting that he is not “leading but participating” in the Bharat Jodo Yatra as a member of the Congress.

Rahul Gandhi on Congress leadership
| Video Credit: ANI

“I just want to make it clear, I am not leading this padayatra. I am participating in this padayatra,” Mr. Gandhi said on the second day of the yatra in Kanniyakumari.

“You [journalists] like to focus on me, that is a different issue,” he responded, when asked if it was not a contradiction that he was leading a yatra but shunning the responsibility of becoming the party chief.

While addressing reporters in Kanniyakumari, he responded to several questions on whether he was willing to take back the reins of the party.

“I said the president’s election will take place and your questions will be answered….I have very clearly decided in my mind what I am going to do. There is no confusion in my mind at all,” Mr. Gandhi said.

The former Congress chief’s assertion on the presidential election comes just two days after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had made a fresh pitch for him to take over as the party chief.

Before the formal launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra at Kanniyakumari on Wednesday, Mr. Gehlot said, “Why does every party member say that Rahul Gandhi should become party chief? Today also, why Congressmen and women are after Rahul Gandhi that he becomes president, because if he becomes president, the party will remain united.”

On August 23, The Hindu reported that with Mr. Gandhi reluctant to become the party chief again and concerns over Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s health, Ms. Gandhi had asked the Rajasthan Chief Minister to lead the party.

While Mr. Gehlot maintains that he would continue to push for Mr. Gandhi till the last minute, the former Congress chief remained non-committal on whether he would contest the election for the post of party president. As per the election schedule announced by the central election authority, the Congress would vote for a new president on October 17 if there is more than one candidate and the last date to file nomination is September 30.

“Whether I become or don’t become president, this will become very clear when the presidential election of the Congress takes place. So, wait till that time and when that time comes, you will see. If I don’t stand [in elections] , then you can ask me a question, ‘why didn’t you stand’ and I will answer the question,” Mr. Gandhi said.

‘No contradiction’

Explaining his presence in the yatra, he said, “I am a member of the Congress and as a member and a person who agrees with the ideology of the Congress, I am participating in this yatra. I don’t see any contradiction in my participation in this yatra.”

“The yatra has the Congress party’s political element to it, because it is a Congress party yatra. I agreed to join the yatra, partially because I believed in the ideas of the Congress and it is important that those ideals are spread in the country,” he noted.

Stating that it would be a very good experience for him personally, Mr. Gandhi said, “It is a powerful thing to do not just from the political point of view, but also from the personal point of view. It is a different way of thinking about and looking at things. Hopefully there will be some understanding about myself and this beautiful country from this yatra. I think four months later, I will be little wiser.”

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