NEW DELHI: Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil on Wednesday claimed that former party chief Rahul Gandhi could have become the prime minister during UPA-II as the then PM Manmohan Singh was having health issues and had offered to make way for Gandhi.
Gohil added that Gandhi declined the request and urged Singh to complete his term.
At an online media briefing, Gohil asserted that the Gandhi family had always shown large-heartedness and never aspired for power.
He also cited past examples to assert that the Gandhi family never hankered for posts.
“All workers of the Congress and youth across the country want that Rahul Gandhi should lead us,” he said, adding that it is the Congress Working Comitteee and the AICC that has the final say in such matters.
His statement comes amid a debate over leadership in the Congress triggered by Priyanka Gandhi’s remarks that a non-Gandhi should lead the party.
In the book “India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders”, Priyanka endorsed her brother Rahul Gandhi’s stand on a non-Gandhi president for the Congress, saying there are plenty of people capable of leading the party.
Though the book was released recently by Oxford University Press, the Congress said Priyanka Gandhi’s interview was conducted after Rahul Gandhi stepped down as party president taking responsibility for the 2019 Lok Sabha poll drubbing.
In the book, which features interviews with young leaders in India, Priyanka told authors Pradeep Chhibber and Harsh Shah, “he (Rahul Gandhi) has said that none of us should be the president of the party and I am in full agreement with him. I think that the party should find its own path also.”
Sonia Gandhi is the interim president of the party and there has been a growing demand from a section in the Congress for return of Rahul Gandhi as chief.
With the spotlight on the Congress’ leadership issue, Priyanka Gandhi’s remarks set off speculation about the Gandhi family’s role in the party.
(With inputs from PTI)