The Congress Working Committee meeting Saturday unanimously rejected party president Rahul Gandhi’s offer to resign from the post of party chief, said party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. The CWC has requested Gandhi to retain his role and “completely overhaul and restructure” the grand old party at every level after the dismal show in the Lok Sabha elections 2019.
Saying that the CWC, in one voice, urged Gandhi to guide the party in “these challenging times”, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he had never seen such unanimity across age groups in any CWC. Nobody has doubted his leadership, the situation was such that we couldn’t sail through, he said.
Commending Gandhi on his role in the party, Azad said “If someone can lead the party in such a situation, it is only Rahul Gandhi. if anyone can lead opposition, it is only Rahul Gandhi.”
After a meeting of the party committee to introspect the poll debacle, the party resolution said they accept the people’s mandate with humility and will perform its duty as the opposition, raising people’s issues and holding the next government accountable to the people of India.
The CWC unanimously called upon Gandhi to lead the party in its ideological battle and to champion the cause of India’s youth, the farmers, the SC/ST/OBC’s, the Minorities, the poor and the deprived sections, it said, adding that “we shall continue its fight against forces that thrive on hatred and division.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP-led NDA to a historic second term in power, reducing the Congress to 52 seats in the 542 that went to poll. The BJP alone won a comfortable majority with 303 seats. Though the Congress improved on its 2014 tally of 44, it could win just 52 Lok Sabha seats this year. In 18 states and Union Territories, the party could not open its account.
Congress said it will support the government in dealing with issues prevailing over the country, including agrarian crisis, banking sector, NPAs, institutional autonomy, job crisis, and economic slowdown. “Congress party has lost the election but our indomitable courage, our fighting spirit and commitment to our ideology remains stronger than ever,” it said.
When Gandhis offered to resign before
This is not the first time that a Gandhi family member has offered resignation and has been rejected by the CWC, the highest decision-making body of the party.
In the aftermath of the 2014 election debacle, Rahul Gandhi had offered to step down as Congress vice-president but it was rejected by the party’s working committee. Although he won the Congress bastion of Amethi by defeating his nearest rival Smriti Irani of BJP, his party fell to its lowest ebb as it could only win 44 seats in its worst-ever electoral performance for the Lok Sabha.
Back in 2006, Sonia Gandhi had announced her resignation from the Lok Sabha and also as chairperson of the National Advisory Council in the wake of the office-of-profit controversy. The then Opposition had speculated that the government had been planning to bring an ordinance to exempt the post of chairperson of NAC from the purview of office of profit.
Gandhi had subsequently resigned from the NAC in March 2006 after the opposition alleged that she had violated the office of profit principle requiring MPs not to hold offices that carry wages, salaries or allowances during their tenures. She had also resigned her Lok Sabha seat of Rae Bareli but won it back in a re-election.
She was re-elected from her constituency Rae Bareli in May 2006 by a margin of over 4,00,000 votes. She won the prestigious 2006 Rae Bareli Lok Sabha bypolls, defeating her nearest rival Samajwadi Party’s Raj Kumar Chowdhury by a margin of over 4 lakh votes.