New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today downplayed the recent criticism levelled against party vice president Rahul Gandhi by Congress leaders like Milind Deora and Priya Dutt, describing it as an "expression of frustration arising out of defeat." (Milind Deora, Priya Dutt Appear to Criticize Leadership)
"These same people who are now criticising were absolutely fine with the arrangements before May 16. They are young people and they have never faced defeat. You need to be patient and face this hour of crisis with grit and determination," Mr Singh told NDTV. (Also Read: Sonia, Rahul Offer to Resign, Congress Says No)
He also dismissed reports about Congress Members of Parliament not having easy access to Rahul Gandhi.
"I would not like to name people but some of those who are saying this are people who would regularly exchange mails and SMSes with Rahul Gandhi," Mr Singh claimed.
Ahead of the Congress Parliamentary Party's meet today evening, where party president Sonia Gandhi is widely expected to be re-elected as its leader, Mr Singh said, "Whether Rahul Gandhi gets the position and perks of a Leader of the Opposition or not, he should definitely be the Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha." (Congress to Hold First Meeting of MPs Today)
His opinion about Mr Gandhi being the best choice for the post is in sharp contrast to that of many other Congress leaders, including Satyavrat Chaturvedi and Anil Shastri, who have urged Mrs Gandhi to take over the crucial role.
While responding to a growing clamour within the party for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to step into active politics, the Congress General Secretary, who is considered to be close to Mr Gandhi, said, "It's not right for the media to pitch the sister against her brother. Priyanka and Rahul bond very well and work together as a team". (Amid Clamour for Priyanka, Rahul Gandhi's Team Launches Defence)
On Friday, former Union food minister K V Thomas had said that Ms Gandhi Vadra "reminded Congress workers of their leader Indira Gandhi" and she should work together with "Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi." (Also Read: Rahul, Smiling, Says He Accepts Responsibility)
"I have spoken to Mr Thomas and he has not said anything against Rahul Gandhi. This is a family that's seen a lot of trauma and I appeal to all to respect an individual's decision about whether to join politics," he said.