Rahul Gandhi with Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot (file)
In more trouble for the crisis-hit Congress, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday publicly announced his resignation as its president, taking responsibility for the Lok Sabha elections debacle, and called for "hard decisions" to rebuild the party and making people accountable for the "failure" of 2019.
In a four-page open letter, Gandhi also urged the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to entrust a group of people with the task of finding a new president as it would not be proper for him to do so.
The 49-year-old leader --who has been adamant on his decision to quit as party president since May 25, two days after the results in which his party won 52 seats -- also stressed on the need for the Congress to "radically transform itself".
In a letter that was emotive in places and combative in others, he said he owed the country and his party a debt of tremendous gratitude and love, but maintained that at times he stood "completely alone" in his fight against the Prime Minister and the RSS.
In his Twitter account, Gandhi's designation as "President" of Congress was also changed to "Member of Congress and Member of Parliament".
This is how politicians reacted to Rahul Gandhi’s resignation:
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Reacting to the development, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi called Gandhi's announcement of his resignation on Twitter as a "brand new drama of the party while several of his BJP colleagues chose the occasion to highlight the difference between the two parties.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel: “He (Rahul Gandhi) is and will remain my leader, our leader and will continue to provide solid strength for the Congress.”
“Rahul ji’s resignation letter is unfortunate. We all are accountable for this defeat. He has, in a short span, already made tremendous contribution in strengthening the party and we all believe his endeavour should continue,” he said.
JD(S) president and former PM HD Deve Gowda: “Rahul Gandhi toured entire country, and struggled to strengthen the organisation. He has done his best. He has taken the moral responsibility. I requested, but he has taken moral stand for defeat, but he's not going to retire, he's going to work for the party.”
Congress leader Jitin Prasada: “Whatever he (Rahul Gandhi) has written in the letter, and party's shortcomings, everything must be deliberated upon, keeping the future in mind. And we appeal to him that he should rethink his decision.”
Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar: "It is a great loss if Rahul Gandhi decides to step down. Without the Gandhi family, Congress will break. I am of the firm opinion that Gandhi family unites Congress. And Congress unites India."
Gorakhpur BJP MP Ravi Kishan: "It is a wise decision and maybe he wants to introspect the reasons behind the defeat of Congress party. It is his own decision and everyone is free to decide what is best suited for him."
BJP leader Nalin Kohli: "It is up to him whether he continues or resigns. There are two types of parties, one like the BJP which is democratically run and the other is Congress, which is family driven. So, it is for them to decide, we have no role."
Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot: "We request him to take back his resignation because we know his struggle."
Senior party leader Salman Khurshid: "It is very sad to see him quit as he put in enormous effort and at one point, we felt he caught the pulse and we saw a return of the Congress. Even though he has quit as the Congress president, he continues to be our leader. Reluctantly we have to accept it. If he has announced it, his advice sadly has to be followed. We will put our heads together and do our best."
Former Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken: "We are proud to have @RahulGandhi ji as our leader! Congress President or not, he would always be the voice of millions of Congress workers and those who believe in its ideology! Rahul ji has taken a right decision-and we support him."