New Delhi: Ever since Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress chief, people are missing him as an "outspoken" leader and therefore, he must return to lead the party forward, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said on Sunday.
Rahul Gandhi had quit as president of the party following the Congress' poor show in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and his mother Sonia Gandhi took over as interim chief of the party.
The statement comes amidst speculations that the party's December 14 rally in Delhi is likely to pave the way for the Gandhi scion to take over as Congress president again.
"Rahul Gandhi is the undisputed leader of the Congress party. Party workers from across the country are with him and he must return as the Congress chief soon," Baghel told PTI.
"He is the only national leader who is outspoken on issues concerning the country and puts forth his views aggressively. Ever since he has resigned, people are missing him as an outspoken leader," he added.
Answering a question, the chief minister said, "Whenever I meet him (Rahul Gandhi), I will urge him to take over the reins of the party".
Asked if the announcement to reappoint Gandhi as Congress chief is likely to be made at the December 14 rally or after the Delhi Assembly election due early next year, Baghel said: "I cannot comment on this."
Sonia Gandhi was on August 10 was appointed as Interim President of the Indian National Congress at a crucial meeting of the party's working committee, after Rahul Gandhi refused pleas by partymen to take back his resignation.
The announcement was made on night of August 10 after Congress Working Committee (CWC) accepted Rahul Gandhi's resignation at its second meeting of the day.
Baghel, appointed the party's star campaigner for the upcoming assembly election in neighbouring Jharkhand, said the Congress-JMM alliance will register a massive victory.
"The ground reality is that the people are fed up with the BJP government and I am hopeful that the Congress-JMM alliance will win 2/3rd majority in the state," he said.
On the issue of procuring rice from the central pool, Baghel said: "We are not asking for money from the central government. We are only requesting the slackening of the provision to procure rice from Chhattisgarh for central pool in larger interest of farmers."
According to the decision taken by central government in 2014, rice will not be procured from the states that provide bonus against paddy procurement at support price, the statement issued by the state government said.
"Even if we don't get any relief from the Centre, we will continue to procure paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal," he said.
Baghel, who will be completing one year as chief minister on December 17 further said: "We have worked a lot for the farmers and the youth. The economic recession has had no effect on the state and we are constantly working towards taking the state forward on the path of development."