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'Manmohan Singh Wanted to Make Rahul PM': Cong Leader on 'Gracious' Gandhis After Priyanka's Call for Chief Outside Family

File photo of Congress interim president with party leaders Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi.

File photo of Congress interim president with party leaders Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi.

His remarks came in the backdrop of party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi expressing willingness to work under non-Gandhi Congress chief.

Describing the 'graciousness' of the Gandhi family and their 'no greed for power', a Congress leader has claimed that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered Rahul Gandhi his place as he wanted to step down due to health issues. His remarks came in the backdrop of party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi expressing willingness to work under non-Gandhi Congress chief.

Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil further said that Rahul Gandhi, however, turned down the proposal and requested Singh to complete his term.

"This is the graciousness of the Gandhi family... they don't hanker after power. Sonia Gandhi refused to become Prime Minister in 1991 and then in 2004 and Rahul Gandhi declined the offer during UPA-II," Gohil said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Asked when Manmohan Singh made the offer, he responded that it was widely reported in the media.

The Congress leader's comment came in the wake of a claim made in book "India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders" by Pradeep Chibber and Harsh Shah.

The book says Priyanka Gandhi was ready to work under a non-Gandhi President after Rahul Gandhi's resignation following the party's rout in the 2019 general elections.

"If there were to be another party President, he would be my boss. If he tells me tomorrow that he doesn't want me in Uttar Pradesh but wants me to be in Andaman and Nicobar (Islands), then I would jolly well go to Andaman and Nicobar," she had said, as per the book.

Rahul Gandhi had also said that the party should elect a President from outside the Gandhi family, but in August last year, Sonia Gandhi was appointed as the interim President of the Congress.

However, the Congress downplayed Priyanka Gandhi's purported remarks, and charged the BJP with stoking the issue.

"We, at INC India, appreciate the sudden media interest (egged on by BJP) in a year old remark (dated July 1, 2019) of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra," party's chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said in a statement.

(With inputs from IANS)
first published:August 20, 2020, 10:54 IST