Rahul Quits As Congress Chief


NEW DELHI — Ending speculation about his continuance in office as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday formally resigned, holding himself responsible for the party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle and maintained that accountability would be critical for the party’s future growth.

Gandhi told reporters he has already resigned and the Congress Working Committee should make the appointment soon.

“I am no longer the Congress president. I have already resigned. The CWC should convene a meeting immediately and decide on the new Congress president,” he said when asked about the future course of the party.

Taking moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi resigned as Congress president at a CWC meeting on May 25, two days after the results were declared.

The party won 52 seats in the Lok Sabha election.

The CWC rejected his resignation and authorised him to initiate changes in the party in order to revamp and restructure it at all levels.

Congress leaders at various levels have been appealing to Gandhi to take back his resignation but he has been unrelenting.

Some party workers are sitting on a ‘dharna’ outside the Congress headquarters, asking him to continue as president. There have also been several resignations of middle-rung leaders. And two days ago, the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states met Gandhi in an effort to make him change his mind.

Reports quoting sources said that senior leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vohra, A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik, among others, are believed to have met informally to decide the next course of action, including options available in the party constitution to deal with such a situation.

In a four-page open letter, Mr. Gandhi said he had empowered the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to constitute a group of people that could find his successor and distanced himself from the process of selecting the next chief.

Amidst reports that Mr. Gandhi and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, could be travelling out of the country shortly, the sources said the CWC could meet as early as July 10 to prepare a road ahead.

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