The crisis in the Congress triggered by Rahul Gandhi’s decision to step down as party president has deepened and revived the young versus old faultlines in the party on Friday after several young office-bearers of the party and its frontal outfits resigned in solidarity with Rahul, mounting pressure on the elders. The young leaders want Rahul to continue as the Congress president.
At least one AICC general secretary, Madhya Pradesh in-charge Deepak Babaria, and one state Congress president, Goa’s Girish Chodankar, resigned hours after some 300 young leaders — most of them in their 40s — converged at the AICC headquarters in the first such show of solidarity with Rahul ever since he told the party about his decision to step down.
The Indian Express on Friday reported about Rahul’s unhappiness over the fact that none of those state leaders and in-charges under whose watch the party fared badly owned up responsibility even after he decided to step down enforcing the principle of accountability.
“There was a meeting of young turks today and the consensus was that not only Rahul Gandhi, but everyone who was there in the front seats, should take moral responsibility and resign. I am in agreement,” Babaria told The Indian Express over phone. He said Rahul had mentioned this in his meetings with some leaders earlier this week.
Chodankar said the “firm decision of Rahul Gandhi to not withdraw his resignation as Congress president morally does not permit me to continue. The defeat is our collective responsibility. I tender my resignation as Goa Congress president.”
At the meeting, AICC secretaries Anil Kumar Chaudhary, Rajesh Dharmani, Virender Singh Rathore, Working Presidents of Delhi and Telangana Congress Rajesh Lilothia and Ponnam Prabhakar, Haryana Mahila Congress president Sumitra Chouhan and Mahila Congress general secretary Netta D’Souza, were among the many who signed on a symbolic joint resignation letter which said “I would like to immediately resign from my post in respect and honour of Rahul Gandhi”.
Those who organised the meeting said over 120 leaders have resigned from their posts. At least one of them said the young leaders want all the office-bearers to resign within three days or they will visit their houses to seek their resignation. At the meeting, the leaders felt there is no alternative to Rahul in the Congress and he has to continue as the party president. They plan to meet him to persuade him to continue.
In Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath said he had offered to resign from the post of state Congress president after the party’s defeat. “Rahul Gandhi is right… I personally believe that I am responsible… I do not know who else is responsible,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rahul on Friday appointed Chhattisgarh MLA Mohan Markam as the head of the party’s Chhattisgarh unit, replacing CM Bhupesh Baghel.