'Congress Chief Or Not, Rahul Gandhi Will Always Have Pre-Eminent Place In Congress': P Chidambaram

The Rajya Sabha MP stated that if Rahul Gandhi is elected Congress president, he will be both leader and president, but if he is not, he will remain the party's acknowledged leader and another person will hold the office of president.

By Shivam Shandilya
Sun, 18 Sep 2022 02:12 PM IST
Minute Read
'Congress Chief Or Not, Rahul Gandhi Will Always Have Pre-Eminent Place In Congress': P Chidambaram
Congress leader P Chidambaram (File Photo)

Senior Congress leader P.Chidambaram said on Sunday that Rahul Gandhi will always have a "pre-eminent place" in the party regardless of whether he is president or not, because he is the "acknowledged leader" of the rank and file.

In an interview with PTI, Chidambaram stated that there was no need for any controversy regarding the fairness and transparency of the party president elections and that if central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry's final statement on the concerns of some of the leaders had come on the first day, the matter would have been resolved.

Underlining that it is not the practise of any political party to publish the electoral college roll, he stated that the PCC-specific electoral roll will be available for inspection at the PCC's office, while the all-India electoral roll will be available for inspection at the AICC's office.

"Every nominated candidate will be entitled to a copy of the electoral roll. Mistry has since clarified these self-evident points, and the MPs have said they were satisfied. The matter is rested, "Chidambaram said.

P. Chidambaram also asked if the media had raised such issues when the BJP or any other party held its party elections.

"I cannot recall JP Nadda asking for the electoral roll or filing his nomination!" he said.

"If my recollection is correct, Nadda, and before him, Amit Shah,  Rajnath Singh, and Gadkari, were all elected by consensus," he said.
On whether Gandhi will heed appeals from party workers and leaders, Chidambaram said he does not know the answer to that question.

"Rahul Gandhi is the acknowledged leader of the rank and file of the party. They want him to be the president of the party also. So far, he has declined. He may change his mind, "the senior Congress leader told PTI.

On being asked if the Gandhi family will continue to occupy a place of pre-eminence in the party if a non-Congress president is elected, Chidambaram cited the history of the Congress and pointed out that between 1921 and 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was the acknowledged leader of the Congress, and afterwards, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, one after the other, were the acknowledged leaders of the party.

"Apart from the leader, there were several people who held the office of president of the party for one or two or three years. There have been periods in Congress' history when the leader and the president were the same person, there have been long periods when the leader and the president were different persons, "he said.

The Rajya Sabha MP stated that if Rahul Gandhi is elected Congress president, he will be both leader and president, but if he is not, he will remain the party's acknowledged leader and another person will hold the office of president.

"Rahul Gandhi will always have a pre-eminent place in the party," Chidambaram asserted.

Chidambaram cited the lines from a poem written a hundred years ago by Tamil poet Subramania Bharati, which translate to, "So that this country may arise as one, come forward to do a great deed! Come! Come!".
"As this message resonates throughout the country, it will certainly rejuvenate and revive the Congress," he asserted.

On the BJP's criticism of the yatra, Chidambaram said the ruling party was not prepared for the kind of response that the yatra has evoked and alleged that its leaders were resorting to misinformation, lies, mocking and abuse.

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