New Delhi: With the Congress suffering a major leadership crisis after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi, senior party leader Natwar Singh on Sunday became the latest to back Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the post of party president.
Praising Priyanka for visiting Sonbhadra where 10 people were gunned down last week, Singh told news agency ANI: "You must have witnessed what she (Priyanka Gandhi) did in a village in Uttar Pradesh. It was amazing. She stayed there and achieved what she wanted to.”
On Friday, Priyanka was taken into preventive custody and stopped from meeting the families of 10 Gond tribals. The clash had triggered a standoff with the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.
Singh also hinted that the Gandhi family will now have to reverse the decision of having someone from outside the family as the party chief.
"Rahul Gandhi had said that nobody from the Gandhi family will become the Congress president. Now, the family will have to reverse the decision and only they can do it," Singh said, adding that having a non-Gandhi at the top post will cause the party to split.
After Rahul Gandhi's resignation as party chief, voices within have been growing in favour of Priyanka leading the party in these critical times.
Former MP Abhijit Mukherjee, who is the son of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee, made an open plea in favour of Priyanka, saying she should not ignore the "clarion call of lakhs of Congress workers" across the country to take over the party.
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Anil Shastri also said that Priyanka is the best person to lead the party at this time and the AICC should elect her as the new chief of the grand old party in the wake of Rahul Gandhi's insistence on quitting the post.
"Now that Rahul Gandhi is firm on his resignation as Congress President, it's the question of party's existence. And, if the party has to survive we have to have a President at the earliest. There can't be a better person to lead the Congress than Priyanka Gandhi and let the AICC elect her," Shastri said on Twitter.
Natwar Singh joined the chorus and warned that if anyone from outside the Gandhi family is elected, “the Congress would split’ within 24 hours.
"It is unfortunate that the country's 134-years-old party does not have a party president. I do not think apart from the Gandhi family, anyone should be elected as the president," Singh said.
The Congress is yet to decide on its new president after Rahul made his resignation public, taking moral responsibility for the party's Lok Sabha poll debacle. The Congress won 52 seats in the elections, just eight more than its 2014 Lok Sabha tally of 44.