New Delhi: “Old leaves fall, new ones grow. Time for our retirement has come. It is the era of youth,” Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Friday said a day after Rahul Gandhi came back ending his sabbatical amid talk of his possible elevation as Congress President.

Addressing a gathering of Haryana Congress leaders in New Delhi to chalk out plans for Sunday’s Kisan rally, Singh said that he, Ahmed Patel and many leaders, were made PCC chiefs at the age of 38 and 33 and “now it is time for youngsters”.

“It is the era of youths. Time for our retirement has come. It is nature’s law. Old leaves ripen and then fall. New leaves then grow. Youth is the flavour of the season. The leadership of youths will come and will lead the country.

“Our success is in the success of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. All party workers are fighting under the leadership of Sonia and Rahul,” Singh said.

Questions have been raised by some Congressmen in recent days about Rahul’s leadership abilities, notably by two former Chief Ministers, Amarinder Singh of Punjab and Sheila Dikshit of Delhi. Others have conveyed similar sentiments by demanding that Sonia Gandhi should continue to lead the party.

Even on Thursday after Rahul’s return, former MP Sandip Dikshit stuck to his stand of backing Sonia Gandhi as the top party leader insisting that a change at this juncture could bring “friction” and delay the revival of an “electorally weakened party”.

At the meeting of the Haryana leaders on Friday, Singh launched a strong attack on RSS, BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“BJP is originally anti-farmer. I want to ask who had gone to fight for farmers in Champaran Mahatama Gandhi or MS Golwalkar. Who had gone to fight for farmers in Bardoli in Gujarat Sardar Patel or KB Hedgewar?” he said. Both Golwalkar and Hedgewar are RSS icons.

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