Former Congress Working Committee member Jagmit Singh Brar created a flutter with his remarks that there was "no harm" if Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi take a two-year break in the wake of Lok Sabha poll debacle.
Brar, a former member of Parliament from Punjab also said that all general secretaries of the All India Congress Committee should have resigned by now after the worst drubbing of the party and the mantle be handed over to a new set of leaders. Brar, who has been sulking for long, is the first Congress leader, who has demanded that the Gandhis should be out of leadership even for a brief period.
The Congress leader at the same time said that whatever he was saying was as a Congressman, who has spent years in the party and he believes that Gandhis can stage a comeback after a brief respite and in the meantime, some leader can head the party.
He, was, however, unsparing in his criticism of the "advisors" of the leadership saying they did not allow party workers to interact with the leadership and they should immediately quit. "It's a collective responsibility. I am not saying put the blame on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi only. Everybody has to take responsibility. They are also responsible. What I am saying is that if a person has remained party President for so many years, there is no harm if he or she takes a cool off period for two years.
"I am also saying that the Congress president has contributed her best. But if she leaves the post for two years as a cool off period, she will be more acceptable later on," Brar said.
Asked whether he was demanding that Sonia and Rahul should quit the party, he said, "I did not say this. What I said is that there is no harm if they take a break for two years, some kind of a cool off period."
Brar also came out in full support of dissident party man from Haryana Chaudhary Birender Singh, who was dropped from the CWC in the wake of his meeting with the Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah.
"Any action against Birender Singh will be improper as Singh is not only a leader of Haryana but leader of all farmers in North India," he said.
Brar wanted immediate convening of a Chintan Shivir to deliberate the future of the party. "Few big persons, who have occupied the party for a long time should immediately quit from their posts. Those who hugely benefited from the leadership are today speaking against it.
"Had the same people, put in their papers, the party could have come back to power by the dint of hard work of partymen," Brar said.
Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with son and party Vice President Rahul address the media after debacle in the Lok Sabha polls. Photograph: Reuters