Party to decide on Rahul’s elevation: Soni

Chandigarh: After being re-elected to the Rajya Sabha, Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni today said the party will decide when the time was right to pass on the baton to Rahul Gandhi.

“The fact that Rahul Gandhi has to be the president of the Congress party was a decision which the party entirely with its consent and concurrence took in January 2013 when it had unanimously elected him as the vice-president.

You become Vice-President, so that one day in future you will take over as the President. Which day that will be, the party, its leadership, Rahul ji and Sonia ji themselves will take a call,” Soni said.

The veteran Congress leader was replying to the recent remarks of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh suggesting Rahul Gandhi to take over as Congress President.

She, however, described the current Congress president as a “catalytic force” who united various factions within the party and said the leadership baton will be passed on when the “time was right”.

“Sonia Gandhi has really been a catalytic force in Congress party, she has united different factions and successfully gave them a direction. Without her, we would have never been able to form UPA-I, UPA-II and governments in so many states. So, whether we acknowledge that publicly or as every Congress worker always pays a silent tribute to her work, that is universal,” said Soni.

When asked if senior leaders would want Sonia to continue as the party’s President, Soni, who is also chairperson of Congress’ Campaign Committee for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections in 2017, said, “look, it’s not a question of anyone coming in because we don’t want her to continue. Congressmen would like to have all of them (the Gandhi family) in the party in one position or the other.”

On the suggestion of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra entering into active politics, Soni said “these suggestions have been there for a very very long time. They have to take the final decision. They are thinking individuals, educated, born into Congress family. Priyanka Gandhi and Mr Vadra will take a call, it is the family who takes the call. We cannot force them. But definitely, Congress workers wants her to join,” she said.