Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said stopping Rahul Gandhi from taking over leadership of Congress will lead to "extinction" of the grand old party.
In his weekly column Rokhthok in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Sanjay Raut also said Congress lacks a leader who can stand up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with full might.
Referring to the letter by 23 Congress leaders to Sonia Gandhi on having a "full time" leadership that is active in the field and "visible" in party offices, Sanjay Raut wondered who is stopping these leaders from being active.
"(Actively trying) to stop Rahul Gandhi will be instrumental in destroying the party and lead to its extinction," Sanjay Raut said.
Having a non-Gandhi as Congress president is a good idea, but no one in those 23 has that capability, said Sanjay Raut whose party, along with Congress and NCP, is a constituent of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra.
Referring to regional parties floated by former Congress leaders, Sanjay Raut said, "The Congress still exists across India but with different masks. If these masks are thrown away, it can emerge as a prominent political party."
He said Congress veteran late V N Gadgil described the Congress as an old woman who will never die."Rahul Gandhi has to decide what to do with the old lady," Sanjay Raut added.