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4-min read

‘Powerful Cling to Power’: In Resignation Letter, Rahul Gandhi’s Message to Congressmen on Impending Ousters

In what could be read as a message for his own party leaders, Rahul Gandhi said numerous people will have to be made accountable for Congress' failure in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.


Updated:July 4, 2019, 8:52 AM IST
‘Powerful Cling to Power’: In Resignation Letter, Rahul Gandhi’s Message to Congressmen on Impending Ousters
File photo of Rahul Gandhi. (Reuters)

New Delhi: The Congress will not be able to "fight its opponents" without sacrificing the desire for power, Rahul Gandhi said as he officially resigned from the post of party president on Wednesday.

In what could be read as a message for his own party leaders, Gandhi said numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “It will be unjust to hold other accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the Party,” he wrote in his letter, hinting that his resignation will only be the first of many.

Asserting that the Congress must radically transform itself, Gandhi said it is a “habit in India that the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power”.

“But we will not defeat our opponents without sacrificing the desire for power and fighting a deeper ideological battle," he added.

Gandhi also explicitly stated that he will not be a member in the party's search to find a new president. The party’s general secretary will assume charge till a full-time appointment is made.

"Immediately after resigning, I suggested to my colleagues in the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new President," he wrote.

Putting an end to all speculation about his possible return as party chief after he first spoke about resigning, Gandhi in his publicly-shared letter said he had stepped down because "as the President of the Congress Party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election".

Gandhi added that "accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President".

Several Congress chief ministers, including Ashok Gehlot from Rajasthan, Amarinder Singh from Punjab, and Kamal Nath from Madhya Pradesh had offered to quit in an attempt to placate Gandhi. Members of Youth Congress had also staged a demonstration outside his residence last week, urging him to retain the party's top post. A number of leaders from several state units had also tendered their resignation, citing "collective responsibility".

Gandhi had offered to quit at the May 25 meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which was called to analyse the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, in which it managed to win just 52 seats.

In his official resignation letter, Gandhi also raised doubts about the fairness of the recent Lok Sabha elections and claimed that "unimaginable levels of violence and pain for India" was going to be the result of Narendra Modi government's return to power.

“A free and fair election requires the neutrality of a country's institutions; an election cannot be fair without arbiters...Nor can an election be free if one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources,” he wrote.

With Modi's return to power, Gandhi said, "the stated objectives of the RSS, the capture of our country's institutional structure, is now complete. Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened. There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India's future to a mere ritual”.

Farmers, unemployed youth, women, tribals, Dalits and minorities, he said were going to be at the receiving end of violence. “The impact on our economy and nation's reputation will be devastating,” he added.

Gandhi ended his four-page letter by claiming that he was born "a Congressman, this party has always been with me and is my life's blood and forever that way it shall remain".

Next in line?

If the president of the Congress party resigns, the party constitution stipulates that the senior-most general secretary of the party takes over in the interim and remains in office until the CWC appoints a new chief. Sushil Kumar Shinde, Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge are considered to be the frontrunners for the post.

Congress leaders said even though Gandhi had resigned, he continued to be their leader and would always be the "voice of the party's workers".

Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President HD Deve Gowda said Gandhi has taken moral responsibility for the Lok Sabha poll defeat. "I requested, but he has taken moral stand for the defeat, but he's not going to retire, he's going to work for the party," said Deve Gowda.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Shashi Tharoor, Jitin Prasada, Ahmed Patel and Ajay Maken were the other Congress leaders who expressed dismay at Gandhi's decision.

However, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi termed the resignation as a "brand new drama of the grand old party" and said his party had nothing to do with it.

(With inputs from PTI)

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