Stopping Rahul Gandhi from leading party will destroy Congress, says Sanjay Raut

Sanjay Raut also said Congress lacks a leader who can stand up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with full might.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said stopping Rahul Gandhi from taking over leadership of Congresswill lead to “extinction” of the grand old party.

In his weekly column Rokhthok in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Mr. Raut also said Congress lacks a leader who can stand up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with full might.

Also read: Analysis | A year after he quit as Congress chief, Rahul continues to shape party’s stand on key issues

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, Mr. Raut wondered who is stopping these leaders from being active.

“Activeness to stop Rahul Gandhi will be instrumental in destroying the party and lead to its extinction,” Mr. Raut said.

Also read: CWC authorises Sonia Gandhi to effect organisational changes

Having a non-Gandhi as Congress president is a good idea, but no one in those 23 has that capability, said Mr. Raut whose party, along with Congress and NCP, is a constituent of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra.

Also read: Should the Gandhis disengage from the Congress?

Referring to regional parties floated by former Congress leaders, Mr. 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,” Mr. Raut added.

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