Congress leaders resign to convince Rahul Gandhi to stay

Friday was a day of resignations at the Congress with at least 100 leaders, big and small, sending in letters to the effect — aimed, in one part, to convince party presidentRahul Gandhi to take back his resignation and, in another, to get other senior leaders to resign, setting the stage for a complete and radical overhaul of the party organisation.

Among those who tendered their resignations were party general secretary in-charge of MP Deepak Babaria, Goa Congress president Girish Chodhankar, Telangana working president Ponnam Prabhakar, Delhi working president Rajesh Lilothia, and Indian Youth Congress vice-president BV Srinivas. On Thursday night, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha tweeted out his resignation.

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All India Congress Committee secretaries Prakash Joshi, Virender Rathore, Anil Choudhury, and Rajesh Dharmani, foreign cell secretary Virender Vashist, Mahila Congress general secretary Netta D’Souza, and office-bearers in several state units of the party also resigned.

Congress president Gandhi said at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, on May 25 that he was quitting , taking responsibility for the party’s miserable performance in the parliamentary polls in which it won just 52 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. Since then, many leaders of the party have urged him to remain at the helm.

Babaria said that party workers should take responsibility for the loss. “Why should the moral responsibility of the loss be on Rahul Gandhi alone? We should all resign and introspect. ”

On Friday, several leaders convened at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters to work out ways to convince Gandhi to stay on. AICC secretary Prakash Joshi, one of the organisers of the meeting, said the leaders were brainstorming ways to convince Gandhi.

“The unanimous view was that there is no alternative to Rahul Gandhi as president and he should stay….If we do not convince him, we will have to launch a massive campaign in the coming days.” Telangana Congress leader Ponnam Prabhakar said that those present at the meeting also agreed that the party’s old guard should also take responsibility for the poll debacle.

Senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai says that it is too little and too late for the party. “Of 70 AICC secretaries, only 4-5 have resigned and among 13 general secretaries, only one…all office-bearers should have resigned,” he said.

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