Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh during Congress Working Committee meeting in Delhi on Saturday. (Photo: Twitter/@INCIndia)
Rahul Gandhi has reportedly told party that he won’t change his decision to step down as Congress president, even as the Congress Working Committee (CWC) unanimously rejected his resignation offer in the aftermath the party's drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections under his leadership. According a report published in a website called NDTV.com, Rahul Gandhi told the 52-member Congress Working Committee that he would like to quit as Congress chief but continue working as disciplined soldier of the party.
“We have to continue our fight. I am and will remain a disciplined soldier of the Congress and continue to fight fearlessly. But I do not want to remain the party president,” Rahul Gandhi reportedly said during the CWC meeting that ran for nearly four hours.
However, CWC members, including Sonia Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, told him to give his decision a second thought. They, however, also said that his personal wish should also be respected.
According to the report, when Rahul Gandhi said that he won’t change his decision, the Congress leaders asked him – “If not you then who?” On this, some leaders suggested his sister Priyanka Gandhi’s name. “Don’t drag my sister into this,” Rahul Gandhi told them, adding that “It is not necessary that the president should be from Gandhi family.”
Manmohan Singh then tried to talk him out by saying that “victory and defeats are part of life and there was no need for him to step down.” The Congress chief, however, remained firm on his decision. Priyanka Gandhi then asked him to give the party some time for an alternative plan.
After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi left the party office without speaking to reporters. He even skipped the press conference addressed by Congress leaders after the meeting.
The Congress party performed miserably in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. The party could only manage to win 52 of the total 542 seats, just eight more than 2014, which was its worst ever performance in the general elections. To add insult to the injury, the Congress chief also lost from Amethi – a traditional stronghold of the Gandhi family.