New Delhi, Feb 27: Amid a leadership debate in Congress, former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar on Friday said that Sonia Gandhi has provided "exemplary leadership" to the party but admitted there could be differences in perspectives between her and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi on certain issues.
Terming as "totally uncalled for and utterly distasteful" suggestions that the Congress President should retire, Kumar said the party needs "collective leadership at this critical juncture".
"Sonia Gandhi has provided exemplary leadership to the Congress party and at this critical juncture when we need to collectively rebuild the party, her stewardship is critically important along with the energetic role of Rahul Gandhi, who in the natural course of things will take over as party president," Kumar told PTI.
Asked whether he has also seen differences between Sonia and Rahul in dealing with issues in the party, as was being projected by some party leaders, Kumar replied in negative. "I have never found important decisions being stalled on account of perceived division of authority between Congress President and Vice President, although on certain issues, there could be differences in perspectives," he said.
Maintaining that there cannot be two decision-making bodies within one party, nine-time Lok Sabha member Kamal Nath on Wednesday had said Rahul must be given full responsibility of the party. Echoing Nath's sentiments, Digvijay Singh said Rahul was not being allowed to function independently and "some powerful people in Delhi" were trying to stall his reform measures.
Kumar, however, did not agree with Singh's view and said "I do not think this suggestion is correct. Rahul as Vice President has the authority to overrule these suggestions with which he does not agree. Nobody can stall his ideas".
The comments by senior leaders have come at a time when there is intense speculation that Rahul may be elevated at the AICC session likely to be held in the first week of April.