Congress president Rahul Gandhi will meet chief ministers of all five Congress-ruled states Monday, his first with them after the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The Chief Ministers are expected to urge him to reconsider his decision to step down as Congress chief, a move which has plunged the party into crisis and has lately triggered a wave of resignations by middle-rung leaders.
Sources said the meeting was called by Gandhi though the Chief Ministers had sought time with him. But with Gandhi firm on his decision to step down, the Congress is facing a crisis unparalleled in its recent history, with several leaders now calling for mass resignations.
Rajya Sabha MP and former Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa has written a letter to AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal saying Gandhi’s decision to take responsibility for the poll defeat is an example of accountability but “has not had the intended effect”.
“It is my firm belief that senior party office-bearers must follow Rahul Gandhi’s lead and resign from their posts. This includes all CWC, all Chief Ministers and state chiefs. Instead, I am asking for fresh leadership, one that brings a renewed sense of purpose and drive to our demoralised cadres,” he said in the letter.
“These resignations will help strengthen Rahul Gandhi’s hand and give him free rein to make the systemic changes he has envisioned. I believe that any leader who does not resign has put their personal gain over the party’s collective growth,” wrote Bajwa, who also resigned from the post of vice chairman of the Congress’s foreign affairs department.
Telangana Congress working president Revanth Reddy, too, announced his decision to resign.
While the Congress had performed much better in Punjab, the same cannot be said in other Congress-ruled states like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Gandhi has already appointed a new state chief for Chhattisgarh and in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Kamal Nath is also the state Congress chief.
Nath is expected to convey to Rahul his willingness to step down as MPCC chief Monday but finding his successor is not an easy task.
While those close to former Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia want him to be appointed MPCC chief, Nath and senior leader Digvijaya Singh may prefer other choices. Sources said they could pitch for a young leader, who is acceptable to both of them.
In Rajasthan, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot is also the PCC chief. The party will have to find his successor too.