On Day 3, Rahul Gandhi’s home buzzes with activity. Priyanka among visitors
For two days, Rahul Gandhi – who left the CWC meeting with Priyanka Gandhi - had cancelled all official engagements and yesterday only met two leaders, party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary KC Venugopal.Updated: May 28, 2019 17:54 IST
Rahul Gandhi, who hasn’t returned to the Congress headquarters after Saturday’s big meet where he offered to quit, on Tuesday held back-to-back meetings at his 12, Tughlaq Lane, house in the national capital with Congress leaders including sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Apart from Priyanka Gandhi, a Congress leader said Rahul has also had separate meetings with senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala and general secretary KC Venugopal. Rajasthan government’s two top leaders, chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, are reported to have met Priyanka Gandhi at his brother’s house.
The string of meetings come 3 days after Gandhi took responsibility for the Congress’s crushing defeat in the national elections at the Congress Working Committee on Saturday and told the party’s top decision-making body to find a new party president because he intended to step down. The CWC unanimously rejected the resignation and authorised Rahul Gandhi to revamp the organisation but there have been multiple reports that Gandhi was holding on to his decision, for now.
WATCH | Rahul Gandhi’s resignation rejected by Congress’ top decision-making body
At a final tally of 52, the Congress’s crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha elections had stunned the party and its boss Rahul Gandhi as well. Gandhi, 48, was the first to own up responsibility for the failure. But at the CWC, Gandhi also made it clear that a section of senior Congress leaders in Delhi and the states had let him and the party down, a point that Priyanka Gandhi also echoed when she spoke.
For two days, Rahul Gandhi – who left the CWC meeting with Priyanka Gandhi - had cancelled all official engagements and yesterday only met two leaders, party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary KC Venugopal.
A Congress leader said the Tuesday meetings were evidence of a nuanced shift in Rahul Gandhi stand and a clear signal that he is holding charge. The Congress had yesterday issued a formal statement after KC Venugopal’s meeting with Rahul Gandhi that described speculation and rumour mongering in the media about the party “uncalled for and unwarranted”.
Reports from Jaipur suggest that the chief minister and his deputy had been summoned over the election results in the state where the BJP won 24 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats.
The Congress, which had formed the state government just 6 months ago but didn’t win a single seat in the Lok Sabha, is also facing a crisis of sorts. Two ministers have called for “fixing accountability” of the Lok Sabha defeat, remarks that were seen as targeted at Ashok Gehlot who had spent considerable time and energy for his son Vaibhav’s unsuccessful campaign from Jodhpur.
There is also apprehension in the Congress that the BJP could attempt to bring down the government to force elections. On Tuesday, BJP lawmaker Bhawani Singh Rajawat said Congress leaders appeared to be working to topple its government. “The condition of the Congress in the state is such that we don’t need to work hard,” he said, according to news agency ANI.
On Rahul Gandhi’s reported insistence to quit, a Congress leader rejected the argument that it could end up hurting the party. It is an unequivocal rebuttal to the BJP’s false narrative that the Congress was a dynastic party in which, the Gandhi family hankered for power. That Gandhi is still firm on his resignation suggests that this was not a perfunctory offer as was widely speculated when the first report of the resignation came in, a Congress leader said.
In the end, he said, it would also help Gandhi emerge stronger within the party letting him take decisions on merits rather than be guided by the need to balance various pressure groups within the party.