Rahul Gandhi has the responsibility of reinventing and reviving the Congress, the party said on Wednesday as it defended him for not taking up the "onerous task" of heading the party in the Lok Sabha for which he had come under attack.
"Congress party is not only limited to 44 MPs in the Lok Sabha. It is in the home, streets and villages of the country. Wherever there is a need for political action, you will see us there," party spokesperson Shashi Tharoor told reporters in New Delhi.
"And if someone like Rahul Gandhi, who has not taken up the leadership in Lok Sabha, were to be asked where he would rather see his presence, I think his answer was apparent -- in Badaun," he said, adding Rahul will lead the party from the front across the country.
Noting that Congress will not be limited to Parliament but will 'sangharsh' (agitate) in the entire country, Tharoor emphasised that it was places like Badaun where Rahul, "the young face of the future of Congress", would be putting his feet down in the need of the nation. He stressed that the task of reinventing and reviving the Congress party was "quite a lot" and therefore he has not take up the "onerous task" of Leader of the Party in Lok Sabha which is "very demanding".
Asked whether Rahul not taking up the crucial post showed that he was hesitant and reluctant, Tharoor told the questioner, "You have chosen to read that signal... but it is not signal about Rahul Gandhi but a recognition of Mallikarjun Kharge."
Hailing Kharge's nomination, the spokesperson said the appointment was a "tremendous recognition" to the leader from Karnataka who has won Assembly polls nine times and Lok Sabha twice. Tharoor wanted all talk in the party on the issue of Leader of the Party in the Lok Sabha to stop after CPP Chairperson Sonia Gandhi chose Kharge for the post. "Now, we should rally around the leader appointed to the post and give him unstinted support," he said.
The AICC briefing saw Tharoor fielding a volley of questions on Rahul including whether the Congress vice president would remain a backbencher in Parliament and whether he would make any effective intervention in the Lok Sabha.