With the Congress leadership in limbo after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi, party veteran Natwar Singh today joined the chorus backing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the top post, adding that having a non-Gandhi at the helm will cause the party to split.
Praising Ms Vadra for her visit to Sonbhadra to meet victims of a firing incident, the former external affairs minister told news agency ANI that she is capable of handling the party.
"You must have witnessed what she did in a village in Uttar Pradesh. It was amazing. She stayed there and achieved what she wanted to," he said.
Mr Singh suggested that Rahul Gandhi's decision of a having someone from outside the Gandhi family as the party chief will have to be reversed.
On being asked if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be elected as the party president, the Congressman said, "It will depend on Priyanka because her brother (Rahul Gandhi) had said that nobody from the Gandhi family will become the Congress president. Now, the family will have to reverse the decision and only they can do it."
Earlier, Anil Shastri, son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, had said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra should be made the Congress president as no one other than her is "100 per cent acceptable".
Mr Shastri, speaking to news agency ANI, had also warned that if somebody else is made the supremo and a section of the outfit does not accept them, chances are that the party will disintegrate.
Natwar Singh echoed similar sentiments and said that if anyone is elected from outside the Gandhi family, the Congress will split within 24 hours.
"It is unfortunate that the country's 134-years-old party does not have a party president. I do not think apart from the Gandhi family, anyone should be elected as the president," Mr Singh added.
Around 50 days after Rahul stepped down as Congress president, taking moral responsibility for the humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the grand old party is yet to finalize its new chief.
Mr Gandhi, now a lawmaker from Wayanad in Kerala, became the Congress president in 2017. He had, earlier this month, written a lengthy four-page letter making his resignation from the post public. Taking responsibility for the drubbing in Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi had said it would not be right for him to suggest a successor.
At present Congress in Goa has completely lost foot, after 10 of its MLAs switched side with the BJP. This has reduced its strength to five in the Assembly.
Similarly, in Karnataka, the situation is equally embarrassing for the party, as its coalition government with JD(S) is facing a tough time. The government had slumped into a crisis following the resignation of 16 dissident MLAs and now its survival seems to be tough.
The Congress won 52 seats in the recent general elections, which is just eight more than its 2014 Lok Sabha tally of 44.