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Stalin dials Rahul Gandhi as ‘do not quit’ voices get louder

Gandhi’s decision to step down as party chief was announced at the CWC meeting held after the party could manage just 52 of the 542 Lok Sabha seats with the PM Modi-led NDA storming to power with 352 seats.

india Updated: May 28, 2019 17:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Stalin,DMK
Stalin has been a supporter of Rahul Gandhi from even before the Lok Sabha elections. He was the first Congress ally to project Gandhi as the PM candidate way back in December 2018.(PTI PHOTO)

Three days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced his decision to quit following party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle, a battery of leaders urged him not to do so, prominent among them being DMK’s Stalin.

Gandhi’s decision to step down as party chief was announced at the CWC meeting held after the party could manage just 52 of the 542 Lok Sabha seats with the PM Modi-led NDA storming to power with 352 seats.

On Tuesday, the Congress’s Tamil Nadu ally and DMK president MK Stalin had a telephonic conversation with Gandhi and requested him not to step down from presidential post, news agency ANI reported.

Stalin has been a supporter of Rahul Gandhi from even before the Lok Sabha elections. He was the first Congress ally to project Gandhi as the PM candidate way back in December 2018.

WATCH | Rahul Gandhi’s resignation rejected by Congress’ top decision-making body

Even a day before the votes were to be counted, the DMK leader reiterated that he believed Congress president Rahul Gandhi would become Prime Minister and his own party would capture power in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu is one of the few states where the Congress fared well with ally DMK winning 23 and the Congress 8 of Tamil Nadus 29 Lok Sabha seats. Both had not won any seats in 2014.

Another Tamil leader, actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth also said that there was no need for the Congres president to resign, reports ANI. “He (Rahul Gandhi) should not resign. He should prove he can do it. In democracy the opposition should also be strong,” Rajinikanth, who announced in 2017 his decision to join politics but is yet to formalise the political plunge.

Jailed RJD leader Lalu Prasad also opined that by resigning Gandhi would walk into ‘the BJP trap’. In an analysis published in The Telegraph, the leader serving jail term in a fodder scam case, said: “Rahul’s offer to resign is suicidal. Opposition parties had the common goal to dislodge BJP but failed to build a national narrative. The result in a particular election can never alter the reality in as diverse and plural a country as India.”

Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram lawmaker Shashi Tharoor felt that Gandhi was the right person to lead the party and that the “Congress has no time to sit and lick its wounds as it must immediately pick itself up for the upcoming state elections”, PTI reported.

Tharoor, who scored an electoral hat-trick by winning from the Thiruvanathapuram seat in the Lok Sabha polls, also said Gandhi-Nehru family will continue to command “great clout and respect” within the party, on the basis of the tremendous contributions it has made in shaping and guiding the party since Independence.

First Published: May 28, 2019 16:18 IST