New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has strongly pitched for making Rahul Gandhi the party president at a time when questions are being raised over his leadership abilities after the UP poll drubbing.
He advocated a role of a mentor for party president Sonia Gandhi and asserted that the Congress has to move from being an inclusive party to setting up "an inclusive alliance".
Amid calls for radical changes by the Congres leaders following massive electoral defeats in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Mr Aiyar told PTI, "I am hoping that the de facto leadership of the Congress which has been in his hands for some months, becomes a de jure leadership and that will enable him to carry out his intentions of democratising the party."
The 75-year-old Congress leader also hoped that Rahul's elevation should "happen soon." Rahul Gandhi's leadership has been under the scanner following the party's repeated losses in elections.
While Senior Congressman Digvijaya Singh had recently said Rahul was not acting decisively, Kerala Youth Congress Vice President CR Mahesh has asked Rahul to "quit", if he does not want to lead the party from the front. Senior party leaders like M Veerappa Moily and Satyavrat Chaturvedi have also pitched for initiating changes an"surgery" within the party to infuse fresh strength into it.
On Sonia Gandhi's role in the party when Mr Gandhi is anointed president, Mr Aiyar said, "I expect her to play the role of Lee Kuan Yew, first mentor."
"I hope her health is good enough. So, she would be available as the most important mentor that the Congress party has and let Rahul Gandhi, who still, for at least a few years, belongs to the generation that constitutes about 70 per cent of our population" become the part president, the former union minister said.
Asked if the Congress should change its strategy and declare a prime ministerial candidate before 2019 polls, Mr Aiyar said, "I am sure the alliance will project somebody (as the Prime Ministerial candidate) and lets see who that somebody is. I hope it will be Rahul Gandhi."