Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said only a young leader should replace Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president, asserting that it would help the grand old party bounce back. He said the young leader with a forward-looking approach would "galvanise" the rank and file of the party after the "unfortunate" resignation of Gandhi.
Singh urged the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to look for Rahul's replacement in a charismatic "Gen Next" leader, who can "enthuse" people with his "pan-India appeal and grassroots presence". "Rahul had shown the way for the youth leadership to take the party's reins and steer it to greater heights," he said, adding that with India leading the world in terms of the largest youth population, it was natural that a young leader would understand and relate to the desires and aspirations of the people more effectively.
"Any change in the party leadership must reflect India's societal reality, with 65 per cent of its population under 35," asserted Singh. Singh said Gandhi's decision to stand firm on his resignation was a major disappointment and setback for the party, from which it could recover only under the dynamic leadership of another young leader.
"Only a youth leader could revive the grand old party," he said, urging the Congress leadership to keep the energy, infused by Rahul, going. "The Congress needs young blood to galvanise its rank and file, and once again make it India's preferred and only choice," said the chief minister, in a statement issued here on Saturday. He said the leadership of the party should be such that it reflects the realignment of its vision to the evolving aspirations of the nation.
"A youth leader, with a forward-looking approach, would not only connect better with the large majority of India's young population but would inculcate the party with a dose of fresh thinking, desperately needed to pull the nation back from the regressive and divisive policies of the ruling BJP," Singh said.
He said under the guidance of the experienced party veterans, a young leader, with a visionary approach and modern outlook, would pave the way for the birth of a new India, which is more vibrant, dynamic and progressive.
It was time for the old to give way to the new, without which the Congress could not effectively tackle the challenges faced today, he added. Gandhi had on July 3 formally resigned as Congress president and said he was responsible for the loss in the Lok Sabha elections.