NEW DELHI: Congress leaders, both young and old, were jubilant on Sunday after Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers for the party president’s post and said his ascent to the top will help it regain the lost glory after a string of electoral reverses.
The leaders also returned the BJP’s “mockery of democratic traditions and farcical election process” barb, asking the ruling party at the Centre not to preach lessons as they cited the grand old party’s “long-proven democratic” track-record.
“Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress…,” former prime minister Manmohan Singh told reporters at the Congress headquarters here after Gandhi filed his nomination.
“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has served the Congress party and, through the Congress party, the country for the last 19 years … Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party,” Singh added.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, hit out at the BJP for questioning Congress’ organisational election process. He said it was the saffron party, which does not follow democracy within its fold.
“…those who have trust in machines to win votes, are preaching us on democracy,” Azad said, reiterating his party’s “EVM tampering” charge against the BJP.
Terming Gandhi as a “capable” leader, Azad exuded confidence the former will turn out to be a “very successful” leader. “And under his leadership, the Congress will regain power,” Azad added.
Former Union minister and party leader P Chidambaram took to Twitter to wish Gandhi “very best” as the latter threw his hat in the ring for the top job in the party.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma stressed that all leaders and workers were in unison when they backed Gandhi. He said it was a “conscious and considered” decision of the party delegates to nominate Gandhi for president’s post.
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress ahead of the state elections in Punjab earlier this year, hailed Gandhi as a “special leader with character” who, he added, has come to the forefront during hours of crisis.
“He has become matured, showed his character. The general is standing at the forefront alone and on the other hand there is this entire government. This is the sign of a leader,” Sidhu told reporters here.
Party MP from Guna, Jyotiraditya Scindia, dubbed Gandhi’s imminent elevation to the top post as a “new wave of hope”.
Another party leader, Kapil Sibal, congratulated Gandhi on Twitter as he filed the nomination with “full support” from the party and called it a “historic moment”.
All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev dubbed Gandhi a “symbol of strength, compassion and integrity” and said it was an honour to be led by him.
According to Congress’ central election authority chairman Mullappally Ramachandran, Gandhi is the sole leader in the fray for the party president’s post, paving way for the latter’s elevation.
Gandhi has been Congress’ vice president since January 2013.