- Jyotiraditya Scindia was asked for reaction to Salman Khurshid's comments
- "True that Congress is in dire need of introspection," Mr Scindia said
- Congress sources had put to rest any possibility of him joining BJP
After Congress leader Salman Khurshid's comments on Rahul Gandhi "walking away" from the post of party president at a time there should have been a post-mortem of the national election defeat, another leader, Jyotiraditya Scindia, on Wednesday called for urgent introspection.
Mr Scindia said this when asked for his reaction to Salman Khurshid's claims of a "leadership vacuum" in the party. "I don't comment on statements made by others, but it is true that the Congress is in dire need of introspection. The party's situation should be assessed and improved, that's the need of the hour," news agency PTI quoted him as saying.
Perceived to be a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, Mr Scindia is reportedly eyeing the post of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief. However, the party's old guard has kept him at bay so far.
Over the last two months, there has been speculation that Jyotiraditya Scindia could leave the party for the BJP unless he was appointed as the Madhya Pradesh Congress chief. His comments supporting the Narendra Modi government's move to scrap the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir further fuelled the rumours. Party sources, however, put to rest any such possibility.
These observations from the two politicians come amid questions over Rahul Gandhi's trip abroad in the middle of the campaign for assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana. Reports suggest that he is in Cambodia for "meditation" but will be back to appear in a Surat court in connection with a criminal defamation case on Thursday.
The Congress is yet to recover from its massive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. Following Rahul Gandhi's decision to quit as party chief, a number of leaders across the country have defected to the BJP and its political allies such as the Shiv Sena.
In his statement on Tuesday, Mr Khurshid had said that Rahul Gandhi should have continued as the party president instead of giving up after the Lok Sabha elections. "We haven't really got together to analyse why we were defeated. Our biggest problem is that our leader has walked away," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
The veteran politician said that Rahul Gandhi's decision had left a vacuum that even his mother Sonia Gandhi could not fill, mostly because she had taken over as party president as a stop-gap arrangement. "I wish it wasn't so," he added.
However, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera shrugged it off as a "side comment" that should not have been made. "They should actually devote their time to expose this government's follies, which are many," he said.