Appealing to Rahul Gandhi, senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Friday asked him to step in and quell dissidence raging in some state units, saying he can’t quit as the party president without putting in place an alternative.

“We are all concerned in the party,” the former Union Minister said referring to reports of infighting in Punjab and Rajasthan and desertions in Telangana and Maharashtra. “When leadership does not act, all these things will happen”.

Gandhi offered to quit as the chief in the May 25 meeting of the Congress Working Committee after the party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle. The CWC had unanimously rejected his offer but Rahul is reportedly firm on quitting the post.

“And even if he wants to resign, this is not the time. Unless he puts an alternative in place to handle the situation, I don’t think Rahul Gandhi should just leave the position,” the former Karnataka Chief Minister told PTI.

The senior Congress leader said Gandhi should immediately “recall” his resignation, take charge, assert himself, enforce discipline and revamp the party without loss of time, infusing “confidence, vigour and passion.”

The Congress should not get frustrated by the Lok Sabha election setback, he said, adding, the party would bounce back in the future. “That kind of optimism should be with every Congress leader and also with Congress rank and file.”

“Desperate attempts to deprive the Congress of its rightful place in the national scenario is not good and appropriate,” he commented without any specific reference.

Moily stressed the need for adopting an appropriate strategy to keep the morale of the party’s rank and file high. At the same time, there is a need to inspire confidence in the local, state and national leadership.

“Reasons can be gone into for the defeat, but at the same time, keeping the party intact and together is very important,” Moily said. “Opposition should not be allowed to take advantage of the defeat of Congress”.

Gandhi should convene a brainstorming meeting in Delhi, inviting not only the CWC and heads of State units but also party leaders who always stood by the outfit. Similar meetings should also be convened at state levels.

According to him, party committees at various levels should be revamped immediately and those who could not deliver the goods should be replaced. “I think this kind of activity cannot wait any longer, he has to step in and do this”.

“He (Gandhi) should immediately take stock of the things. You cannot keep that post (of Congress President) vacant. He has to step in; discipline has to be enforced, wherever there are problems, on a war-footing that have to be tackled.”

“Even if he wants to resign…not at this stage, he has to take very firm action, people who cannot deliver goods have to be removed at state level and other places, he cannot just leave. He has to assert himself and put the party in order. That’s his duty,” Moily said.