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CWC rejects Rahul Gandhi’s resignation

Rahul is likely to be forced to rethink but the last word has not been spoken yet
Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday.

Sanjay K. Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 25.05.19, 08:43 PM

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday owned responsibility for the party’s election defeat and asked the Congress Working Committee to elect a new president, from outside his family.

Although the CWC unanimously rejected this proposal, Rahul said his decision should not be taken as a symbolic gesture. He specifically asked the party to choose a leader from outside his family, making it clear that Sonia Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were not options.


The CWC later passed a resolution formally rejecting his offer to resign, but sources said Rahul had not changed his mind. Because he was adamant, CWC members decided to ponder over the issue at its next meeting. Rahul is likely to be forced to rethink but the last word has not been spoken yet.

Officially, the party did not give out the impression of uncertainty. Chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala pointed to the resolution passed by the CWC that said: “Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his address to the CWC offered his resignation. The CWC unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress president for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times….”

Rahul’s decision to step down is born out of a sense of accountability but it is also an emotional response to the perennial taunt on dynasty he has faced, from within and outside the party.

While many analysts argue that younger voters do not appreciate the concept of entitlement of a fifth-generation dynast, there also were murmurs within the Congress that a new leadership should be allowed to evolve to stem the party’s decline.

But if Rahul is the inheritor of the Nehru-Gandhi legacy, he is also the party’s best bet today. No other Congress leader matches the pan-India acceptability he has built through a decade-long struggle. Rahul might have been defeated in this election but he has established himself as the prime challenger to Modi.

Surjewala said: “The CWC is the final authority. There is no confusion. It is rare for the CWC to record these proceedings in this fashion but we included it in the resolution to remove the scope for speculation. The resolution, which authorises Rahul Gandhi to take decisions to revamp the party, answers all the questions.”

The resolution said: “The CWC unanimously called upon the Congress president to lead the party in its ideological battle and to champion the cause of India’s youth, the farmers, the SC/ST/OBCs, the minorities, the poor and the deprived sections.”

It added: “The CWC fully recognises the challenges, the failures and the shortcomings, resulting into this mandate. The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress president for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party. A plan to this effect shall come into force at the earliest.”

Party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was present at the press conference, said: “Rahul worked hard for five years and exposed the government on corruption, jobs, farm crisis. Defeat and victory is another issue. He gave visible leadership. We know under what circumstances the election happened. Only Rahul can play the role of an effective Opposition. I have never seen such overwhelming support, every leader — senior or junior — asked Rahul in one voice to continue and guide the party.”

On the speculation about reservations in the party about Rahul’s chowkidar chor hai slogan, Surjewala said: “Has corruption become the norm in India? Will defence deals remain opaque, and will malfeasance and corruption be legitimised after victory?”

The CWC resolution accepted the people’s mandate, expressed gratitude to the 12.13 crore voters who backed the party, thanked workers, volunteers, leaders and allies, and vowed to continue the fight for “our ideology”.

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