New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi seems hellbent on quitting the party post in view of the crushing defeat the Grand Old Party was meted out in the recently concluded 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
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The Congress drew a blank in Rajasthan as the NDA won all 25 seats. In Karnataka, where it formed a government with the JD(S) in May last year, the Congress managed to win only one Lok Sabha seat out of 28. The party was crushed in most of the 29 states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where it had defeated BJP in the assembly polls in December.
In view of the poll results, Rahul Gandhi tendered his resignation as the Congress chief but it was ‘unanimously and in one voice’ rejected by the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference, senior party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Monday urged everyone to respect the sanctity of the CWC meeting and asked the media not to fall into the trap of “conjectures, insinuations, gossip and rumour-mongering”.
But the Congress chief is learned to be insistent about stepping aside from the top party post while being a ‘disciplined soldier of the Congress party’. Some media reports claimed that Rahul in the CWC meet had said that the Congress president may not necessarily be from the Gandhi family. Hence, another CWC meet is expected to take place in the next four days- to take a big decision over restructuring from top to bottom.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are also learnt to have come to terms with Rahul’s decision to quit and that there should be a change of guard, though they have been of the view that the blame for defeat cannot be put on one person.
During the day, party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary KC Venugopal met Rahul and tried to persuade him not to press for his exit from the post.
However, Patel later said that he had gone to meet Rahul for routine administrative work.
“I had sought time before the CWC to meet the Congress President to discuss routine administrative work. The meeting today was in that context. All other speculation is incorrect and baseless,” Patel tweeted.
There is also a view in the Congress that Gandhi is sending a clear message to the old guard by holding out because there should be full freedom in decision-making.
IT’S FLYING RESIGNATIONS
Meanwhile, three more state party chiefs have tendered their resignations, taking the total number to six.
Congress party chiefs of Jharkhand, Assam and Punjab have also resigned in addition to those from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Karnataka Pradesh Campaign Committee chairman H. K. Patil has also resigned.
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jhakar, who was the sitting MP from Gurdaspur, sent his resignation to Congress President Rahul Gandhi taking moral responsibility for losing to actor Sunny Deol from the seat. The Congress has generally done well in Punjab winning eight of 13 seats.
Jharkhand Congress chief Ajoy Kumar has also tendered his resignation. The party won only one seat in the state where it had an alliance with the JMM, RJD and other parties.
While the party won Singhbhum seat, it lost Khunti by only 1,445 votes and Lohardaga by 10,363 votes.
The party’s Assam unit chief Ripun Bora also wrote to Gandhi taking moral responsibility for the party not being able to increase its tally from its previous tally of three seats. He has said in his letter that Gandhi may choose to replace him.
Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan, Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar and Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik have already sent their resignations.
Yogendra Misra, the district Congress chief in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh has also sent his resignation, owning moral responsibility for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat from Amethi.
With inputs from IANS