The Congress on Thursday came out in support of Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi after a senior leader of party's Kerala unit, T.H. Mustafa, criticised his leadership and apparently called him a 'Joker'.
Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal sidestepped Mustafa's comment and asked party leaders to raise issues internally.
"I haven't seen his statement. But whoever has issued this statement should raise their grievances in the party forum," said Afzal.
Another Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, said, "I don't agree with him and I think we are benefitting because of Rahul's leadership. As far as Priyanka Gandhi is concerned, she is always welcomed in the party.
Former Minority Affairs Minister, K Rehman Khan, also echoed the views of Mani Shankar Aiyar and Meem Afzal, and said the issues should be raised in the party forum.
"Who is responsible and what has happened is a matter to be investigated. Congress president and Vice President have said that they have taken the responsibility. It does not mean that you go on criticizing them. Going public with your views is against party discipline," he said.
On Wednesday, T.H. Mustafa blamed Rahul Gandhi for the party's electoral reverses in the Lok Sabha election and termed him as a "joker". He also demanded that he should be removed from his posts if he does not step down voluntarily.
T.H. Mustafa, a former minister, further said that Priyanka Gandhi should be made the new party chief.
"Rahul behaved like a joker and that's the reason why the Congress suffered a major reversal in the Lok Sabha polls. The role of a prime minister is not child's play and the people knew it and handed out the worst defeat to the Congress party," he had said.
"He should take responsibility and quit and if not he should be removed and Priyanka Gandhi should be made the new president of the party," he added.