Home / Politics / News /  Rahul Gandhi says he is no longer Congress chief, urges CWC to elect successor

NEW DELHI : Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he is no longer the president of the Congress and urged the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress working committee (CWC), to decide on his successor without delay, leaving the large but emasculated Opposition party mulling its options at a historic crossroads.

“I am no longer the Congress president. I have already resigned. The CWC should convene a meeting immediately and decide on the new Congress president," Gandhi said, according to a report by the Press Trust of India.

Hours after his statement, Gandhi tweeted a four-page letter formally announcing his resignation.

The CWC, which is authorized to take a final call on the party president’s resignation, had turned down Gandhi’s resignation at its last meeting. Senior party leaders are, however, of the view that Gandhi has made his decision clear and that the party’s top leadership can no longer “pressurize" him to continue.

In light of Gandhi clarifying that he is no longer the party president, the senior-most general secretary of the Congress, Motilal Vora, could call a meeting of the CWC as early as next week to decide on the next course of action.

“This is his way of bringing new blood to the party and he feels this is the only way in which he can hit the ground running in terms of a political campaign. One of the suggestions is that a senior leader be made interim president along with three or four vice presidents," a senior party leader said requesting anonymity.

In the letter published on Wednesday on Gandhi’s Twitter account, he took responsibility for the party’s massive defeat in the general elections but added a word of caution for other party leaders.

“Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as president of the party," he wrote in the letter.

The chief ministers of Congress-ruled states last week offered to resign to highlight the collective responsibility for the party’s performance.

“I personally fought the Prime Minister, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) and the institutions they have captured with all my being...At times, I stood completely alone and am extremely proud of it," he said.

Gandhi’s letter, which comes 40 days after he submitted his resignation, is significant. He has in effect officially turned down the CWC’s rejection of his resignation. The CWC may now choose to amend its earlier resolution to accept his resignation, according to party leaders.

The leadership crisis in the party comes not just against the backdrop of a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections but also ahead of key assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and possibly Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress is out of power in all the four states and, with the exception of Haryana, will rely on alliances with key regional parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.

“In my opinion, Rahul Gandhi has done the right thing by stepping down as he has thrown a challenge to his party leaders to find a successor. It is the senior leadership that has let down the party," said N. Bhaskara Rao, a New Delhi-based political analyst.

“He announced his decision nearly six weeks ago. What was the CWC doing till now and why is it that at a crucial time like this things have been delayed? The party has to rise to this challenge," he said.


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