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Rahul Gandhi's Insistent Offer to Resign After Poll Debacle Meets Unanimous Rejection by Congress Top Brass

We need Rahul Gandhi to guide us in these challenging times, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee.


Updated:May 25, 2019, 9:33 PM IST

New Delhi: After suffering another rout at the hands of the BJP and Narendra Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was adamant about stepping down from his post but the top brass of the party unanimously rejected the idea at a meeting called on Saturday to conduct a post-mortem of the Lok Sabha election defeat.

"We need Rahul Gandhi to guide us in these challenging times," spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee.

The Congress said that it appealed to Rahul Gandhi to carry on and has passed a resolution, authorising him to make large-scale changes to the party structure. “Congress CWC will do a full introspection of this defeat,” Surjewala said.

But senior party leader and former defence minister AK Antony said the party’s performance in the election was not disastrous, despite it winning just eight more seats from the record-low of 44 in 2014.

“I don't agree that it was a disastrous performance, but we were not able to rise up to the expectations. Party will discuss this in details... today we had only general discussions,” he said after the four-hour meeting.

According to sources, Gandhi had insisted that he wants to resign and told the Congress top leadership present at the meeting that he was ready to serve the party as “an ordinary worker”. Party leader Ambika Soni, when asked whether Rahul Gandhi's leadership was questioned at the CWC meeting, replied, "Not at all.”

News18 had on Thursday reported that the Congress chief had also offered to resign hours after the election picture became clear, with the grand old party once again failing to get even enough numbers to appoint a Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson, had rejected the resignation offer and it was said that the proposal would be taken up at the Congress Working Committee meeting.

The meeting, chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, was also attended by 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, Chhattisgarh - and of the Union Territory Puducherry.

The meeting of the party's highest decision-making body went into the reasons behind the party's debacle and discuss as to why its poll narrative failed to convince the people.

Senior leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram was also present in the meeting alongside other party colleagues including AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sheila Dikshit, Mallikarjun kharge, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot also attended the meeting along with their Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel.

Though the Congress improved on its 2014 tally of 44, it could win just 52 Lok Sabha seats this year. In 18 states and Union Territories, the party could not open its account.

Murmurs are already appearing within the party over taking responsibility for its poor performance, with some of its leaders already sending in their resignations. Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik have announced their resignations from the post.

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