Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday explained the party's insistence on having the Gandhi family in the leadership role, saying the party has felt for "some time" that they have been "effective". He also underscored that with several state elections due to come up this year, there is no time for the Congress to "sit and mope".
The Congress's leadership question has been thrown wide open following the party's crushing defeat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.
Rahul Gandhi has been insistent on his decision to step down from the post. Despite party leaders' repeated refusal, he asked it to look for a replacement. He has also made it clear that the replacement cannot be his mother or sister.
"The party has to be led effectively," Tharoor said. "The party's own conviction has been for some time that we are most effectively led by the Gandhi-Nehru family. That's why there has been no challenger to either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi during their leadership years," he said.
The Congress has been led mostly by members of the Nehru-Gandhi family since Independence. It did not do well under Sitaram Kesri who took over after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for a few years and several leaders convinced Sonia Gandhi to take over.
Rahul Gandhi, Tharoor said, has impressed everyone by his willingness to take responsibilities. That he is serious on the resignation, shows "he is taking it on the chin and taking it personally," he added.