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Non-Gandhi Congress chief OK but family role key: Mani Shankar Aiyar

BJP’s objective is to have a 'Gandhi-mukt Congress' so as to have a “Congress-mukt Bharat”, Aiyar claimed.

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 24.06.19, 3:35 AM
  • Updated 24.06.19, 3:55 AM
  • a min read
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“I am sure we can survive if we have to without a Nehru-Gandhi as the titular head of the party, provided the Nehru-Gandhis remain active in the party and can help resolve a crisis in case serious differences arise,” Mani Shankar Aiyar (in picture) said. Telegraph file picture

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Sunday said a “non-Gandhi” can be party president, but the Gandhi family must remain active within the organisation. His statement came amid uncertainty over Rahul Gandhi continuing as Congress chief.

The BJP’s objective is to have a “Gandhi-mukt Congress” so as to have a “Congress-mukt Bharat”, Aiyar claimed. It would be best that Rahul remains party chief, but at the same time, his own wishes must also be respected, he added.

“I am sure we can survive if we have to without a Nehru-Gandhi as the titular head of the party, provided the Nehru-Gandhis remain active in the party and can help resolve a crisis in case serious differences arise,” he told PTI in an interview.

Aiyar said Rahul had given about a month to the party to find a replacement and there had been confabulations within the Congress over the issue with the feeling in the party overwhelmingly in favour of Rahul staying on.

The former Union minister, however, emphasised that instead of speculating, the media must wait for the “deadline” to know whether a replacement has been found or Rahul is persuaded to remain Congress chief.

“If you simply cut off the head then the chicken may start fluttering as it does in the animal kingdom,” the 78-year-old leader said when asked if organisational overhaul at the top was needed.

Aiyar cited several instances in the history of the Congress when people from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family were presidents of the party, from U.N. Dhebar to Brahmananda Reddy. The same model could be adopted now, he said.