Day after stunning defeat, 3 resignations land up on Rahul Gandhi’s desk
Three senior Congress leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka have sent in their resignation to party boss Rahul Gandhi owning responsibility for the party’s poor show in the national elections.
Uttar Pradesh chief Raj Babbar was the latest resignation to be sent on Friday after the Congress won only the Rae Bareli constituency of Sonia Gandhi in the state that sends 80 lawmakers to parliament. Babbar, who contested from Fatehpur Sikri, also lost by a margin of nearly 5 lakh votes to the BJP candidate.
Babbar has called the results “depressing” for the Uttar Pradesh Congress. “I find myself guilty of not discharging my responsibility in a proper manner,” he tweeted. Later, the party’s Amethi district president Yogendra Misra also put in his papers.
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HK Patil, who was tasked to oversee the Karnataka Congress campaign in December, has also quit, according to news agency ANI.
Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik had earlier resigned from his post after the Congress won just 9 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat. Patnaik had lost the 2 assembly seats he contested; his son also lost a Lok Sabha seat.
Some more offers to quit are expected to follow as well but a Congress leader said the party may not rush into accepting the resignations.
The Congress has just about 52 seats in the Lok Sabha in this round of national elections, just a shade better than its worst-performance in the 2014 elections when it ended up with just about 44 seats.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already taken responsibility for the party’s performance in the national elections but hasn’t elaborated on the next step yet. To a question if he would step down, Gandhi told reporters on Thursday that “the decision will be between me and the working committee.”
The Congress Working Committee, the party’s high-decision making body, is meeting on Saturday to review the poll outcome. The Congress has firmly rejected speculation that Gandhi has offered to resign. These reports, the party said, “are mischievous and incorrect”.
But some leaders do expect Rahul Gandhi to make an offer at the CWC, one that is likely to be firmly rejected by the panel. For one, a leader said, because the Congress president had taken all views on board when the party firmed up its strategy and decided candidates.
A Congress leader said the party would take a hard look at its performance, analyse the reasons that contributed to the party’s humiliating defeat. But the most important part of this exercise would be way forward. Rahul Gandhi, who did appear shocked by his party’s performance, had indicated yesterday that he would did not want the setback to pull down the party’s morale.
Gandhi, who thanked party workers for their hard work, said: “I want to tell them and all those people in India who believe in the Congress’s ideology that do not be afraid, have faith and we will work and sort this out in the time to come. Love never loses, and I am certain that we will emerge stronger and work better... love will guide us.”