Having decided to step down as Congress president after the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is said to be unhappy with the fact that none of those state leaders under whose watch the party fared badly have owned up responsibility.
The Congress had drawn a blank in around 17 states and could pick up only one or two seats in many other states.
Rahul met around 15 leaders of the Haryana Congress, together and individually, along with AICC general secretary and Haryana in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss the party’s preparations and strategy for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
He told the Haryana leaders — who asked him to reconsider his decision of stepping down — that someone will have to own up. Referring to some states, Rahul is learnt to have observed that “if they are not resigning how can I ask them to go”.
Rahul is learnt to have spoken candidly to the Haryana leaders, expressing his unhappiness over the raging factional feud in the state unit. He, however, told them he was ready to help them if they decide to work together. Sources said a couple of leaders, considered loyal to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, tried to argue in favour of a leadership change in the state.
The Hooda camp had been demanding the removal of Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar. Rahul, sources said, told the leaders he cannot decide on the state president as he has resigned as Congress president. “He told us he can sit with us and help us…but he was clearly not in a mood to decide on leadership change in Haryana,” a Haryana Congress leader told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Vivek Tankha, the chairman of the Congress’s legal, human rights and RTI department resigned from the post. A Rajya Sabha member, Tankha tweeted that “we all should submit our resignations from party positions and give Rahul ji a free hand to choose his team”.