New Delhi: Former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat on Sunday put his weight behind former President Rahul Gandhi, saying, that it is right time for the latter to return as the party chief.
Rawat’s remarks came at a time when other party leaders like Shashi Tharoor and Sandeep Dikshit have called for fresh elections to the Congress' top post, respecting Rahul Gandhi's decision to opt out.
Rawat also said Rahul Gandhi's message of accountability in the wake of party's Lok Sabha poll debacle has been received well and its purpose fulfilled and it is time for him to move forward.
"The party's rank and file want that Rahul Gandhi should again take over as Congress chief. We strongly feel that this is the right time for him to take over as the country is facing several issues," Rawat said.
"The Congress leadership feels this is the time when Rahul Gandhi should come forward and lead the party once again," he added, adding that there are concerns over Sonia Gandhi's health and she should not be over-burdened.
Rawat, however, said the final call should be taken by Rahul Gandhi.
After the debacle in the last Lok Sabha poll in August, Sonia Gandhi was appointed as the interim Congress president in August last year after Rahul resigned taking moral responsibility.
Rawat said social divisions being created in the country due to issues like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, sharp rise in unemployment, economic downturn and agrarian crisis make it important for Rahul Gandhi to return soon.
The Congress general secretary noted that these issues are responsible for the country being in "complete disarray".
Asked about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra assuming a more significant role in the party, Rawat said she is already part of the Congress leadership.
"Priyanka Gandhi has said several times that Rahul Gandhi is her leader. There is no confusion regarding her role in the party," he said.
Speculation is rife that the Congress will hold a plenary session in April after the Budget session of Parliament is over.