After Rahul Gandhi reportedly met with senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Ahmed Patel on Monday, 27 May, the party is set to hold another meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to discuss possible candidates for the post of party president.
The meeting is expected to take place within four days, NDTV reported citing sources.
Rahul reportedly told Patel and Venugopal that his decision to quit as the Congress chief stood firm, though that he won’t ‘abandon the post’ until the party finds a replacement.
According to NDTV, sources quoted Rahul as saying that “it is not necessary that the president should be from the Gandhi family.”
He also said that he will still continue working for the party. The report also said that his meetings and appointments, including with Congress MPs, have been cancelled.
‘Gandhi’s Decision Right’
Some party leaders have agreed with Rahul, saying that his desire to make way for someone else is right as he may be “hurt” and feeling “helpless”, reported The Indian Express.
The daily quoted a Congress leader as saying that Gandhi is feeling “bogged down” with party presidency and handling day-to-day organisational issues. The report further quoted another party leader, saying that he is correct in his assessment, and that it’s too much of a crisis to be addressed in a hurry.
Both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are reportedly upset over the fact that the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ campaign was not adequately promoted by senior Congress leaders.
Senior Leaders Want Gandhi to Stay
Senior leader Salman Khurshid was also quoted by The Indian Express, saying that Rahul should remain the Congress president.
Khurshid said Rahul’s stepping down would be “silly and ungrateful” since the Nehru-Gandhi family have always been the biggest vote-getters.
“Now, they may not have got us enough votes to win this election, (but) they are the largest vote getters for the party,” Khurshid told PTI.
Former Union minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal told the newspaper that “there will be no discipline left in the party,” if the Gandhis step aside.
‘Not Gandhi But CWC Must Resign’
Senior Congress leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy, on the other hand, said the CWC members and AICC office-bearers should quit their posts and give free hand to Rahul to undertake a complete overhaul of the party.
"“The CWC itself has passed this resolution, calling for an introspection and also what it called a complete overhaul and detailed restructuring at every level of the party. For such an exercise to be set in motion, it should start from the top.”" - Marri Shashidhar Reddy, Congress leader
“You cannot start doing at the grassroot level. Once you start from the top, it gives confidence to the people that yes, Congress party has now, (it is) taking stock of things and the working committee’s resolution is going to be implemented,” he said.
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor has said that Rahul is taking Congress’ defeat personally. In an interview with NDTV, Tharoor said the party has been led ‘effectively’ by the Nehru-Gandhi family.
“That’s why there has been no challenger to either Sonia or Rahul during their leadership years,” he told the news channel.
Crisis In Cong Camp, State Chiefs Resign
There have been massive rumblings in the Congress camp after the results of the Lok Sabha, with Rahul expressing anguish over senior party leaders for putting their sons before the party and pushing for their candidature in the elections.
After Rahul’s offer to resign from his post, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar and Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajoy Kumar have tendered their resignation from their respective posts, citing their performance in the elections.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has called the PPCC President’s resignation as ‘unnecessary’.
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