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Former Congress MP Hanumantha Rao Urges Rahul Gandhi to Continue as Party Chief

TV grab of Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao. (Photo: Network18)

TV grab of Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao. (Photo: Network18)

Claiming a 'difference between the Nehru-Gandhi family and others', Rao urged Gandhi to take a leaf from the Congress's defeat in 1977 and lead the party during its difficult times.

Hyderabad: Amid reports that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is insistent on stepping down from his post in the wake of party's rout in Lok Sabha polls, former MP V Hanumantha Rao on Wednesday urged him to continue to lead the party in times of difficulty.

Rao, a senior Congress leader who had served as PCC president in undivided Andhra Pradesh, also said that Gandhi should listen to all sections of partymen to know the views of all. "I feel it is not justified for our leader Rahul Gandhi to say that 'I cannot continue, you have someone else' (as president) due to the pain of losing recent Lok Sabha elections," Rao told reporters here.

He recalled that the Congress lost in 1977 but bounced back to power in 1980. Citing the example of TRS in Telangana, Rao, known to be a loyalist of Nehru-Gandhi family, said change is inevitable.

TRS had swept the Telangana Assembly polls held in December last year, but it received unexpected results in Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Amid expectations of a clean sweep by TRS in Telangana, the ruling party won nine of the total 17 seats. If the leader is firm and steadfast, workers in villages would be strong, Rao said. "Let's work hard. Rahul Gandhiji, don't hurt the sentiments of workers," the 70-year-old Congress leader said. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi used to meet all sections of partymen which enabled them to know the ground situation and views of all, he said.

Rahul Gandhi should also know the situation on the ground and facts by meeting all, he said. Claiming that he has not got Rahul Gandhi's appointment for about five months now, Rao said that he was "blocked" by some as he "tells the facts" but did not name them. He said he would neither find fault with Rahul Gandhi nor leave the party.

On Gandhi's reported views that someone outside the family should be picked to lead the party, Rao said there is a difference between the Nehru-Gandhi family and others. "Definitely, you (Rahul Gandhi) should continue," he said.

Asked about Gandhi's reported comments some senior leaders devoted time to their children at the cost of party's interests, Rao said he was happy that the party president realised it.

Amid reports of Rahul Gandhi's insistence on stepping down, the Telangana unit of Congress rallied behind the party president Tuesday.

"We are urging from Telangana PCC. We have complete confidence in the leadership of Rahul Gandhiji. Our desire is that he should continue as AICC president," Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and MP-elect N Uttam Kumar Reddy told reporters here on Tuesday.