After a crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held to review the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections concluded, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Rahul Gandhi’s resignation has been unanimously rejected.
He added that the resolution passed by the CWC members has called for a “thorough introspection of the electoral performance” and asked Gandhi to “reorganise the party at every structure.”
Surjewala said the CWC members rejected Gandhi’s offer of resignation because the party needs his “leadership and guidance” in these “challenging times”.
“Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi in his address to the CWC offered his resignation, as the party president. The CWC unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress President for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times. The CWC unanimously called upon the Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi to lead the party in its ideological battle and to champion the cause of India’s youth, the farmers, the SC/ST/OBC’s, the Minorities, the poor and the deprived sections.”CWC Resolution
Rahul Insisted on Quitting Even After CWC Rejected His Resignation: Report
Rahul Gandhi insisted on resigning at the CWC meet despite the party leaders rejecting his offer, reported NDTV.
He reportedly told the congregation of the party’s top leaders,“We have to continue our fight. I am and will remain a disciplined soldier of the Congress and continue to fight fearlessly. But I do not want to remain the party president.”
When it was suggested that his sister, Priyanka Gandhi, could take up the charge of Congress chief, Rahul Gandhi reportedly said, “Don't drag my sister into it.”
“It is not necessary that the Congress president should be from the Gandhi family,” he added, reported NDTV.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath offered to resign as the state Congress Committee Chief, following the CWC meet in Delhi.
Request Congress President For a Complete Overhaul of the Party: CWC Resolution
On discussions about reassessing the electoral performance, senior Congress leader AK Antony said, “I don't agree that it was a disastrous performance, but we were not able to rise up to the expectations. The party will discuss this in details... Today, we had only general discussions.”
The CWC resolution noted, “The CWC fully recognises the challenges, the failures and the shortcomings, resulting into this mandate. The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress president for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party. A plan to this effect shall come into force at the earliest.”
The CWC meeting was called by Gandhi to review the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections, where it has secured a mere 52 seats.
The CWC meeting, chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, was attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Uttar Pradesh (East) in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and chief ministers of three party-ruled states – Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – and the Union Territory of Puducherry. Kamal Nath, Chief Minister of another Congress-ruled state – Madhya Pradesh – was visibly absent from the meeting.
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The Congress President took full responsibility for the defeat of the party in the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, 23 May, in a press briefing and said the issue of his resignation was a matter between him and the Congress Working Committee.
The party suffered a loss for the second time in a row at the hands of the Narendra Modi-led BJP.
The party bagged only 52 seats in this election. The number of seats is Congress’ second lowest tally history and is only marginally better than the 44 seats in 2014.
A Day After Defeat, Resignations Pour in
After the humiliating defeat, party's Uttar Pradesh chief Raj Babbar, Karnataka's HK Patil, Odisha's Niranjan Patnaik and Amethi district head Yogendra Mishra sent in their resignations to the high command owning moral responsibility for the drubbing.
Babbar, who contested from Fatehpur Sikri, was defeated by a margin of 4,95,065 votes by BJP's Rajkumar Chahar.
"The results are depressing for the Uttar Pradesh Congress. I find myself guilty of not discharging my responsibility in a proper manner," Babbar tweeted in Hindi.
"I will meet the leadership and apprise it of my views. Congratulations to the winners for winning the confidence of the people," he said.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said: ""I have sent my resignation to AICC President (Rahul Gandhi) owning moral responsibility for the party's poor show in both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.
"While the Congress faced defeat in the state, I too lost at the hustings," the Congress stalwart said.
Patnaik said "the party needs to take concrete steps to set the organisation in proper shape by getting rid of opportunists and attracting youths into its fold." He said that he had tried his best to bolster the party's poll prospects.
Patnaik said a committee, headed by senior leader Narasingha Mishra, has been set up to ascertain the reasons behind the drubbing suffered by the Congress in Odisha.
Congress won only one Lok Sabha seat and nine assembly seats in the eastern state.
There are also reports that Karnataka HK Patil, who was tasked to oversee the Karnataka Congress campaign in December, has quit taking moral responsibility.
(With IANS, PTI inputs)