New Delhi: Congress leaders on Wednesday said even though Rahul Gandhi had resigned as the party president, he continued to be their leader and would always be the "voice of the party's workers".
Asserting he was no longer the Congress president, Gandhi on Wednesday said it had been an honour to serve the party, the values and ideals of which had served as the "lifeblood of this beautiful nation".
As the president of the Congress, he said he was responsible for the party's debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
"We request him to take back his resignation because we know his struggle," Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said.
In a four-page letter shared on Twitter, Gandhi said accountability was critical for the future growth of the party. "It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress president," he said.
Gandhi, who suggested that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) be entrusted with the task of finding a new party president and it would not be correct for him to select his successor, also said he owed the country and his organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love.
"It is very sad to see him quit as he put in enormous effort and at one point, we felt he caught the pulse and we saw a return of the Congress. Even though he has quit as the Congress president, he continues to be our leader. Reluctantly we have to accept it. If he has announced it, his advice sadly has to be followed. We will put our heads together and do our best," former Union minister and senior party leader Salman Khurshid said.
Former Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said even after his resignation, Gandhi would remain the voice of the party's workers.
We are proud to have @RahulGandhi ji as our leader!Congress President or not, he would always be the voice of millions of congress workers and those who believe in its ideology!Rahul ji has taken a right decision-and we support him.— Ajay Maken (@ajaymaken) July 3, 2019
Quoting from Gandhi's resignation letter, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said all Congress workers should rededicate themselves to the values and principles of the party and the nation's Constitution.
"The Indian nation must unite to reclaim&resuscitate our institutions. The instrument of this resuscitation will be the CongressParty." All of us in @incIndia must rededicate ourselves to the values& principles of our party &our nation's Constitution. The time for renewal is now. https://t.co/0F7hbe1Jqt— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 3, 2019
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President HD Deve Gowda praised Gandhi for having toured the entire country in order to strengthen the organisation. "He has done his best. He has taken moral responsibility," Deve Gowda said. "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."
Expressing disappointment over the resignation, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Gandhi should have continued to lead the party with the same dynamism and fighting spirit with which he steered the election campaign. "It is a difficult time for the party, but together, we will get through it, to come out stronger and bigger, with Rahul’s vision continuing to guide us," he said.
Congress leader Jitin Prasada said that the party must deliberate upon everything that Gandhi has written in the letter, along with the party's shortcomings. "We appeal to him that he should rethink his decision," he added.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel termed Gandhi's resignation as unfortunate and said that every party member is accountable for the defeat in Lok Sabha polls.
Rahul ji’s resignation letter is unfortunate We all are accountable for this defeatHe has, in a short span, already made tremendous contribution in strengthening the party and we all believe his endeavour should continue.— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) July 3, 2019
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot described the resignation as "disappointing".
"He (Gandhi) has been leading the party with a clear vision and positive energy. He became the strongest voice of opposition in the country and lead from the front, raising issues crucial for the nation," Gehlot said in a series of tweets. "We all wish that he continues to lead the party as he has been doing, bringing vigour, dynamism and youthful energy at all levels of the party’s organization. We are very hopeful that soon he will return to lead us and take the party forward, to a new and robust future."
Gehlot added that Gandhi would certainly reconsider his decision as the party needs him, "as the country needs him to fulfill the role of a very able opposition leader".
"The Congress party firmly believes in the political acumen of Rahul ji, he had successfully lead party to the victory in the recently held state assembly election in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and that in the recent past also in Gujarat," Gehlot added.
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Once again I am hopeful that Rahul ji will soon return to lead us with same zeal and spirit...We will bounce back and Congress Party would continue to defeat the fascist forces under Rahul ji’s dynamic leadership.7/— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) July 3, 2019