Mani Shankar Aiyar: ‘Non-Gandhi’ can be Congress chief, but family must remain active in party

Mani Shankar Aiyar: 'Non-Gandhi' can be Congress chief, but best if Rahul Gandhi remains on the post
Mani Shankar Aiyar said the Gandhi family must remain active within the party. (File)

Three days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi made it clear that the party would decide on his successor, senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar Sunday said a ‘non-Gandhi’ could be party chief but the Gandhi family must remain active.

"It would be best that Rahul remains party chief, but at the same time, Rahul’s own wishes must also be respected," Aiyar said. Aiyar’s statement comes amid uncertainty over Rahul Gandhi continuing as Congress president.

"I am sure we can survive if we have to without a Nehru-Gandhi as the titular head of the party, provided the Nehru-Gandhis remain active in the party and can help resolve a crisis in case serious differences arise. Rahul has given about a month to the party to find a replacement and there have been confabulations within the Congress over the issue with the feeling in the party overwhelmingly in favour of Rahul staying on," PTI quoted Aiyar as saying.

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"I have every confidence that whether with Rahul Gandhi at the helm or somebody else, the party will fight back and resume in the fullness of time its position as the natural leader of what I call the Idea of India Movement," Aiyar further said.

Targetting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Aiyar said the party should not fall into the trap of the saffron party’s slogans of Gandhi-mukt Congress or Congress-mukt Bharat.

"I don’t think it is a matter of personalities. I know it is the objective of the BJP to have a Gandhi-mukt Congress so as to have a Congress-mukt Bharat. I don’t think we should be falling into the trap of thinking that they have discovered something that we are not able to discover," the former Union minister said.

On June 20, Rahul Gandhi had made it clear he would not appoint the next president of the party, suggesting that he was committed to his stand of giving up the position. Gandhi had also said he cannot take the decisions about his successor.

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Rahul has been insisting on stepping down after the party did not win even 10 per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha elections, even though the party marginally improved its tally from the 2014 polls. However, the Congress Working Committee the top decision-making body of the party has not accepted his resignation.

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