No one else but Rahul Gandhi can lead Congress, says Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel at HTLS
Baghel was upfront and clear that only Rahul Gandhi, who quit as president of the party following the Congress’s poor show in May 2019 Lok Sabha elections, can lead the party and the country. But, his Punjab counterpart said the Congress had a system in place to elect its new leader.
Two Congress Chief Ministers – Amarinder Singh of Punjab and Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh – on Saturday aired their views on the future leadership of their party. They were speaking at the 17th edition of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Baghel was upfront and clear that only Rahul Gandhi, who quit as president of the party following the Congress’s poor show in May 2019 Lok Sabha elections, can lead the party and the country. But, his Punjab counterpart evaded a direct response and said the Congress had a system in place to elect its new leader.
“If there is any future leader, it’s Rahul Gandhi. No one else, but Rahul Gandhi. He is honest and takes responsibility. He took responsibility after the Lok Sabha elections and resigned,” said Bhupesh Baghel.
Singh felt that the party mechanism should be followed to elect the new president. “We have a working committee for a century now. They decide on who will be the president. So, I can’t answer this question,” said Amarinder Singh.
Watch | Only Rahul Gandhi can lead Congress, says Baghel; Amarinder Singh evades
The Punjab CM, however, credited interim president Sonia Gandhi with reviving confidence of the people in the Congress. “Rahul Gandhi took responsibility of Lok Sabha poll results and resigned, Mrs Gandhi came back at the helm. Since the return of Sonia Gandhi as the Congress president, the party is performing better. This indicates that there is a change,” said Amarinder Singh.
“We are performing better now. In Punjab, we won 3 out of 4 bypolls. We won the seat held by the former deputy CM Sukhbir Badal. People still have confidence in the Congress,” he added.
Sonia Gandhi took over as the interim president after Rahul quit after the April-May general election, in which the Congress won 52 seats, up from 44 in 2014, but still not enough to make it eligible for even the status of Leader of the Opposition in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Since then Rahul Gandhi has largely kept away from all active politics, seen mainly in Lok Sabha and on a few occasions in Kerala’s Wayanad, the constituency in represents in the lower House.