Congress Wasted Month Pleading With Rahul Gandhi, Says Karan Singh

The decisions should be taken at a Congress Working Committee meeting to be chaired by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Karan Singh suggested.

Karan Singh's letter surfaced as Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge emerged as front runners (file)

New Delhi:

The Congress, which has to look for a new president after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi, received some advice from one of its veteran leaders and former governor Karan Singh. The Congress should appoint an interim president and four working presidents or vice presidents at the earliest, the 88-year-old suggested in a statement on Monday.

The decisions should be taken at a Congress Working Committee meeting to be chaired by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Karan Singh suggested.

According to his plan, the vice presidents could be each in charge of a zone, north, south, east or west. "This will enable the introduction of younger people into positions of authority," said the Congress leader.

Karan Singh said as someone who had joined the Congress in 1967, over half a century ago, he was "aghast to see the confusion and disorientation..." since Rahul Gandhi resigned on May 25.

"Instead of honouring his bold decision, a month was wasted in pleading with him to take back his resignation which, as a man of honour and integrity, he should not have been pressurized to do so," he said, noting that six weeks on, there was still no alternative structure in place.

Speaking to NDTV, Karan Singh said the current situation in the Congress was "unacceptable", that the party needed to get its act together.

"We cannot keep pressuring the man (Rahul Gandhi). He is an honorable man, he has worked very hard. Let him withdrawn gracefully. I have backed his decision strongly since Day 1," the veteran said, calling for the need to rejuvenate the whole structure of the Congress.

Karan Singh's letter surfaced as Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge emerged as front runners for Congress president's post. Sources say the Congress is weighing the possibility of three young vice presidents like Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora.

The Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, is expected to meet this week to take a call.

Rahul Gandhi last week posted what could best be described as a public resignation letter, making it clear that he was firm on quitting as Congress president for the sake of accountability, after the party's national election defeat.

The 49-year-old had resigned much earlier, on May 25, days after the Congress finished with 52 seats in the national election, pulverized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP which won a giant mandate to remain in power.

For weeks, several Congress leaders have pleaded with Rahul Gandhi to change his mind, without luck.

Calling for radical transformation of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi said he had asked party leaders to pick his successor and he would have no role in the selection.

"While it is important for someone new to lead the party, it would not be correct for me to select that person," he said in the letter.

The Congress is looking at a non-Gandhi president for the third time in its long history, that too at a time the entire Gandhi family is in politics --- besides Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Since Rahul Gandhi's resignation, several other Congress leaders have followed.

On Sunday, Jyotiraditya Scindia quit as Congress general secretary and Milind Deora as Mumbai Congress chief.