Two days after the Congress Working Committee ‘unanimously rejected’ party President Rahul Gandhi’s offer to reign, it appears that the leader is unlikely to change his mind about stepping down. According to NDTV’s Sunil Prabhu, Rahul Gandhi met with Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Ahmed Patel on Monday and conveyed that the party would have to find a new President as he would not give into pressure to continue in the top post.
Telegraph’s Sanjay K Jha also reported that Rahul Gandhi had insisted that the new President should be from outside the Congress’ first family, ruling out the idea of his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Vadra taking over. NDTV areported that despite their initial reluctance regarding his resignation, Sonia and Priyanka later agreed with Rahul. They both were of the opinion that Congress needed ‘a change of guard and a total reset’.
One leader who was present at Saturday’s CWC meeting and quoted by Telegraph stated that Rahul had, however, made it clear that he would not be abandoning the party. “The essence of his argument, however, got lost in the concerns over his resignation. He said I am not going anywhere; I am going to fight harder. If you believe in my leadership, I don’t need any post to prove myself,” said the leader, who added that Rahul had said he would carry on with intense political campaigning while a new party chief looked after the organisation’s affairs.
It was at Saturday’s CWC meeting that was called to take stock of the poll debacle where Rahul Gandhi took responsibility for the Congress’ defeat in the Lok Sabha Elections. Following the CWC meeting, Congress leader KC Venugopal had confirmed to the media that Rahul had presented his resignation. However, he added, that it had been unanimously rejected by the CWC, which had also requested him to restructure the party and go in for a complete overhaul.
Under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress was able to better its 2014 performance by only eight seats, winning 52 parliamentary constituencies. While Rahul went on to lose the party’s bastion of Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani, the Congress was also routed in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which it had won in December Assembly Elections. It was also defeated in Karnataka, with the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance winning only one seat each.
After Congress’ defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, then Congress President Sonia Gandhi and then Vice President Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign. However, the CWC had rejected their offer, attributing the loss to "collective responsibility".