Congress chief Milind Deora proposes Pilot or Scindia as next Congress prez


India, All India

He added that he was unequivocally ruling himself out.

'In my view, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia have all these qualities and can provide strength to the organisation and vigour to the opposition space,' Deora said. (Photo: File)

Mumbai: Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora on Sunday proposed the names of Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia for the post of party's national president.

Deora told PTI he agreed with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that the new Congress president should be young, capable and possess electoral, administrative and organisational experience, and a pan India appeal.

"In my view, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia have all these qualities and can provide strength to the organisation and vigour to the opposition space," he said.

He added that he was "unequivocally ruling myself out" adding that "I know my strengths and capabilities and I am willing to work with anyone in the best interest of our party".

Deora said Pilot or Scindia should be made interim president at least, and be publicly backed by the Gandhi family.

"Unless of course, the Gandhi family disagrees with my assessment," he added.

To a query on what if the party decided on someone other than the two, he said, "If the party collectively decides on someone else, I will respect its wisdom. But I will be surprised if the party or public disagrees with my assessment."

Responding to a question on the party's indecisiveness regarding the new president, Deora said Congress must respect the faith 13 crore voters have reposed in the party by taking decisive steps.

"It is high time we, as a party, made a collective call on our leadership. In my opinion, we need to put our best foot forward, enthuse the cadre and once again attract the attention of the electorate," he said.

He said the delay in electing a new congress chief was hurting the party.

"India's single largest opposition party has a huge responsibility towards strengthening the world's largest democracy," he said.

Speaking about the upcoming assembly polls in some states, including Maharashtra, Deora said, "We have crucial elections coming up in October and further delay can impact our prospects adversely."

On Rahul Gandhi's s decision to quit, Deora said it was unfortunate and added that the Congress leader did his best for the party.

"If he has decided to stay away from the procedure to pick the new Congress chief, we must respect his decision," Deora added.

When asked if the Congress will accept a non-Gandhi as the party chief, the former Lok Sabha MP said the contribution of the Nehru-Gandhi family to the party was unmatched.

"We are standing at such a crucial juncture in history that we have to depart from conventional political routes. It is their (Nehru-Gandhi family) decision to stay out of the leadership race and we must respect it," he said.

On general secretary Priyanka Gandhi's possible candidature for the top job, Deora said, "Priyanka Gandhi is exceptionally talented. It is the family's decision to not be involved with the office of the Congress president. We must respect this and move on."

When asked if the leadership vacuum hurt the Congress in Karnataka and Goa, Deora said many of these events could have been avoided if the party had a strong and decisive central leadership.

"We do not have the luxury of time," Deora said about the need for the Congress to act fast.

Responding to a question on whether he favoured polls for the post of Congress president, Deora said a call on this would have to be taken by the party's working committee (CWC).

"Having elections will give far more credibility to the president and make the whole process transparent," he said.

On his choice of Pilot or Scindia as party chief, Deora said it would end ambiguity in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and will send a clear signal to the party in these states that Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath are to continue as chief ministers.

On the status of his resignation as Mumbai Congress president, Deora said he had quit on June 26 and met Rahul Gandhi.

"I felt hurt that no one else had offered to resign. I was surprised that the party has rejected my resignation. I still insist that they accept it now since the Mumbai Congress has a working president," Deora said.