New Delhi: Dismissing contentions that the leadership of Rahul Gandhi has come under doubt amid an apparent tug of war within the party, Congress today asserted that the Congress Vice President is the "leadership" for future and that partymen will work under him.
The remarks by party spokesperson Shobha Oza came amid an apparent tug of war within the party between some of the old guards and the new generation leadership of Congress, which appears poised to take over the reins of AICC affairs as part of the party's restructuring exercise after Lok Sabha debacle.
"Rahulji is our leader. The party will grow under his leadership and we will come back to power...There is no doubt about Rahul Gandhi's leadership. We will work under him and take the party forward," Oza said at the AICC briefing.
Some young general secretaries have privately held meetings and discussed the remarks of some senior party leaders, which, they felt, appeared questioning the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
Oza, however, feigned ignorance about such meetings and said,"I do not know about it. I am ignorant about the meeting. I will inquire about this meeting and will come back to you after getting information".
To questions about senior leaders raising doubt about the leadership of Gandhi, Oza said,"nobody is doubting his leadership. There is no doubt about his leadership."
The party has already officially distanced itself from remarks of two senior general secretaries Janardan Dwivedi and Digvijay Singh regarding an age bar for leaders for taking up active posts and about Rahul Gandhi not communicating enough during the Lok Sabha polls.
Oza also referred to the Antony Committee report to buttress the point that the reasons for the Lok Sabha poll debacle have already been discussed and arrived at.
While Singh was frequently referred to in media as a guide of Rahul Gandhi, Dwivedi was one of the four members' team along with Rahul Gandhi, A K Antony and Ahmed Patel set up to look after the party affairs, when Sonia Gandhi had gone abroad for treatment for the first time in 2011.
Antony, considered very close to the Nehru-Gandhi family, had already submitted a report to party President Sonia Gandhi on the Lok Sabha poll debacle, which has raised no questions on Rahul Gandhi's role, who was the Campaign Committee Chief of the party for the general elections.
A senior party functionary speaking on the condition of anonymity said that those leaders advocating any age bar should "set the example first" and disapproved of remarks that Rahul Gandhi should have done a particular thing.
"You accept that Gandhis are your leader but you also say that they should have done this or that. So you want a leader, who does not his own decisions but act according to what you think is right.
"Blaming Rahul Gandhi for debacle is illogical. Somebody was Chief Minister for ten years in a state and Congress continued losing the elections. So Can we put the blame on him for this," the functionary said disapproving remarks of Singh and Dwivedi.
In a strong snub to party leaders airing their views publicly, senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma had said yesterday that the party does not encourage "declaring from squares, the things we discuss in private".
While Dwivedi had said that leaders above the age of 65 or 70 years should not take up active posts in the party, Singh had reportedly remarked that Rahul Gandhi's silence on critical issues had contributed to their loss in the "war of perception".
He had said the party vice-president should be "more visible and heard more" to bring the Congress back on the path of revival.
The party has to distance from remarks of another leader, Manish Tewari, the former Information and Broadcasting Minister, who contrary to the party line, supported the government's move to appoint former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam as Kerala Governor.
The AICC briefing saw the journalists posing a number of questions to the party spokesperson as to whether the successive remarks of senior leaders against the party's official line indicate ruptures within the organization, a contention, which Oza denied.