Voices against the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President grew with senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh saying that the leadership should remain with Sonia Gandhi as a generational change cannot be done with a knife.
"You cannot just make a generational change with a knife and cut them through. You have to gain experience by individually meeting people across the country and maintain people-to-people contact," Amarinder Singh said.
He insisted that people should gain experience and move upwards as "raw people cannot move upwards".
Replying to a question about voices regarding continuance of Sonia Gandhi as party chief, Mr Singh said that he agrees with this perception at a time when the party is down with the worst-ever tally of 44 seats in Lok Sabha but it needs someone with experience and ability to take you back to the top.
"It is a personality-based election now. Mrs Gandhi is 'the leader' of the Congress and after we have come down to such levels, only under the leadership of a leader like her can the party move upwards. I think she has the capacity to lead the party up from here.
"Let Rahul be number 2 and play that role to eventually take over the party later," Mr Singh said.
He said that there is no reason why Rahul Gandhi cannot work as Vice President.
Asked why Rahul alone cannot be given leadership, he said he needs more experience and he should go round and build his image in the country just like what Indira Gandhi had done after the party's debacle post-Emergency.
Mr Singh also said that Priyanka Gandhi should enter active politics and work together with Rahul Gandhi as a team under the Presidentship of Sonia.
"She is a very bright and forthright lady and she would compliment her brother also. Both can work as a team together to help take the party to greater heights," he said.
Mr Singh rejected criticism of Rahul Gandhi's sudden "leave" and insisted that the Congress Vice President is "not a write- off" and that he will be at the top "someday".
"As a Vice President, he should work closely with the Congress President. And the Congress President should retain her position because she is the person who every Congressman in the country will follow today," Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh also said that "old generation" leaders are there in other parties like Sharad Yadav of JD(U) and Sitaram Yechury in CPI(M).
"I do not think that they would have gone along with Rahul," Mr Singh said referring to the protest march of over a dozen parties on the land bill to Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was led by Sonia Gandhi last month.
Party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit had earlier said that Sonia Gandhi is the "leader" for "99 per cent of" partymen and she is needed at the helm at this time more than ever in the past.
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