TAKING total responsibility for the Lok Sabha poll debacle, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday offered to resign as Congress President, which the Congress Working Committee (CWC) unanimously rejected and authorised him to overhaul and restructure the party at all levels. The crucial meeting of Congress’ highest decision-making body deliberated for almost four hours upon reasons behind the party’s defeat with various leaders urging Rahul Gandhi to continue to provide leadership. Sources said Gandhi put forth his resignation before the committee, asking it to elect a new President.
The sources added the Congress chief did not give any speech and asked the CWC to chose a new leader from outside his family. Top leaders asked him not to resign, with some even getting emotional while convincing him to continue. Congress stalwarts including party general secretaries, Chief Ministers and former Ministers, unanimously rejected his offer to resign and reposed faith in his leadership. The CWC asked him to continue as party chief and carry out an overall of the party at all levels and rejuvenate it and passed a resolution in this regard.
“Congress President 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,” said the resolution passed by CWC. The CWC “unanimously” called upon the Rahul Gandhi to lead the party in its ideological battle and to champion the cause of youth, farmers, SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, poor and deprived sections. The resolution accepted with humility the mandate of the people and expressed gratitude to 12.13 crore voters who stood behind the party.
“The Congress party is committed to don the role of a constructive opposition, raising people’s issues and holding the government accountable to people of India,” the resolution said. The CWC commended the tireless efforts of Congress chief, leaders, workers and candidates, who fought a vigorous battle in challenging circumstances and thanked allies who joined hands to fight this ideological battle. The CWC resolution said it fully recognises challenges, failures and shortcomings, resulting in this mandate, and recommended a thorough introspection.
“The CWC requested the Congress chief 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 Congress party has lost the election but our indomitable courage, our fighting spirit and commitment to our ideology remains stronger than ever. We shall continue its fight against forces that thrive on hatred and division,” it further read.
Earlier, around 40 top Congress leaders from across the country listed the reasons for the party’s defeat and suggested ways to revive the party again. Sources said senior party P Chidambaram also turned a little “emotional” while asking Rahul Gandhi to continue and said some supporters, especially from South which voted for Congress, may take some “extreme step” in case he resigned. Sonia Gandhi did not speak at the meeting, while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke, listing various reasons and asked the Congress leaders to continue its fight against the BJP. While all Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled States -- Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel and V Narayanasamy -- were present at the meeting and also spoke. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was not present and sources pointed out at speculation that his Fovernment was “under threat” and he was trying to put his “house in order”.