Rahul Gandhi's stern ultimatum to Congress, decide on new chief 'quickly'
Rahul Gandhi has reportedly told the Congress leadership that the Grand Old Party of India ‘should decide on the new president quickly without further delay’. According to news agency ANI, Gandhi reportedly said that, “I'm nowhere in this process. I have already submitted my resignation and I am no longer the party president. The Congress Working Committee should convene a meeting at the earliest and decide.” The statement comes a day after Congress Chief ministers of Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry met Gandhi in a bid to ask him to reconsider his decision to withdraw his resignation. "It was a good meeting that lasted around two hours. We expressed our feelings and it was a heart-to-heart talk in detail. We conveyed and apprised him about the feelings of Congress workers across the country and urged him to continue to lead the party," Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had told reporters after the meeting. There were reports that some Congress leaders were observing hunger strike to convince Gandhi.
On May 25, two days after the humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha Elections, Gandhi had quit as Congress chief during the all-important CWC meet. At that time, Congress top leadership had said that Gandhi’s resignation is not needed. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Dr Manmohan Singh were among those who spoke to Rahul Gandhi. At that time, Congress’ national spokesperson Sanjay Jha had said that there was no need for the Congress chief to quit. "I don’t think Rahul Gandhi has been more established, popular, loved and respected within Congress then he is today," Jha had said during a television debate.
Although the Congress did better than its 2014 performance (44 seats) and won 8 more seats, the party could not open its account in several states and Union Territories. The party didn't win a single seat in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman Diu and Lakshadweep.
The biggest embarrasment came from Uttar Pradesh where the Congress chief himself lost the traditional Amethi seat to Union Minister Smriti Irani by a margin of over 55,000 votes. During a press confernece post the Lok Sabha elections results, Rahul Gandhi had taken the full responsibility of the party's brute poll drubbing.
Reduced to just 52 seats in the Lok Sabha, the present situation of the Congress is far cry from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. While Nehru led Congress into victory in three General Elections of 1951, 1957 and 1962, Indira too secured back to back victory in 1967 and 1971. She against led the party to a victory in 1980 elections.