Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: On the 135th Foundation Day of the Congress on Saturday, several senior party leaders pitched for former Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi to lead the party once again against the ruling BJP and take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi, under whose leadership the party was reduced to 52 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, resigned from the top post during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, just two days after the poll results on May 25.

However, the Congress leaders unanimously rejected his offer to step down from the post. But Rahul Gandhi remained adamant and quit the party president's post in late July.

Following his resignation, the party reappointed Sonia Gandhi as the party's interim Chief on August 10.

Speaking to reporters at the Foundation Day ceremony at the party headquarters here, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior party leader Digvijaya Singh said, "Rahul should not have left the party Chief's post. But he stepped down following the loss in the Lok Sabha elections. We want him to lead the party again."

Singh was responding to a question on Rahul Gandhi taking on the Prime Minister and the BJP government aggressively over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Echoing similar views, senior party leader Tariq Anwar told IANS, "The decision to step down from the top post was completely his own. The CWC members and other party leaders tried to convince him not to step down, but he remained adamant on his decision."

"Still party activists and many party leaders want him to lead the party, but the decision will be again completely his own," the former Union Minister said.

This is not the first time that party workers and leaders are demanding that Rahul come back at the helm. During the party's Bharat Bachao rally on December 14 at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, many leaders demanded that he lead the party.

While addressing the massive crowd at the Ramlila Maidan, Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the BJP and its parent body Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and said, "I am not Rahul Savarkar, I am Rahul Gandhi and I am not going to apologise for speaking the truth".

The BJP had been demanding Rahul Gandhi's apology for his "Rape in India" remark that he made at an election rally in Jharkhand.