New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni on Monday insisted that the party needs Sonia Gandhi as president even as she made a strong defence of Rahul Gandhi, who is on sabbatical for more than a month, saying there is "no question of having one at the cost of another".
A day after former MP Sandip Dikshit said that Sonia is the "leader" for "99 per cent of" partymen and she is needed at the helm at this time more than ever in the past, Soni said, "there is no question of having one at the cost of the other. Congress President is our President. We need her. And you see in few days she has been moving from state, meeting farmers, getting party energised. The whole party is upbeat."
She also brushed aside questions that Dikshit's remarks indicated that Rahul is not wanted by some in the party amid talk of his possible elevation as Congress President.
"He (Dikshit) does not mean that. I did not get that impression from his interaction with the media. You ask him how, why and what he meant. He will say exactly the same thing. We need both the Congress President and the Vice President.
"We know that Sonia Gandhi, through her own leadership qualities brought the Congress back to power. The UPA was constituted because she went interacting with leaders of secular parties and we had UPA 1 and UPA II. Today we are in Opposition again. We are lucky to have Sonia Gandhi as the President," Soni, AICC general decretary, said.
To a specific question as to whether she thinks that it is right time for the elevation of Rahul as President, Soni said, "That is a decision that the Congress Party and the Congress workers will take up at the appropriate time.
Another party general secretary Digivijay Singh said that it is for Sonia Gandhi to decide on the issue of next Congress President.
"It is for to decide the the timing of annointment of Rahul Gandhi. That is for her to decide. She is the leader and she shall remain the leader," Singh said.
There has been intense speculation in party circles that Rahul could be elevated as Congress President at AICC session expected to take place by May.