Rahul quits as Congress chief, calls for change
July 04 2019 01:02 AM
Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi (file picture)

Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi yesterday said he had asked party bosses to find a successor after he took responsibility for losing a general election that has left the party in crisis.
Rahul released a public letter to colleagues in which he appeared determined to relinquish his family’s control over the 133-year-old party and called for its radical transformation.
“Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019,” Rahul wrote. “It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as president of the party,” he added.
The Congress suffered a mauling for a second general election in a row from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party.
Rahul himself lost the traditional family seat in Uttar Pradesh.
Rahul, 49, announced his decision to quit as Congress leader in May, but the party leadership refused to accept it.
They pressed him to reconsider, saying the party needs a unifying figure from the family to avoid splintering.
At the very least, they said he must name a successor.
Rahul has said the party’s decision-making Congress Working Committee (CWC) should launch a search for a new party president in which he would not play a role.
“Immediately after resigning, I suggested to my colleagues in the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president,” he said in the letter.
Under Congress’ constitution, the senior-most general secretary of the party would take over as interim president, which currently would put Motilal Vora, 90, in the top job.
Sonia Gandhi, who remains an influential figure after Rahul succeeded her as party president in 2017, has not commented. His sister, Priyanka, who formally joined the party just weeks before this year’s general election, holds a key post in Congress.
She also has not commented.
Many Congress officials have not yet given up hope that Rahul Gandhi will reconsider his resignation.
“We request Rahul to lead from the front to take on the upcoming political challenges,” Sachin Pilot, Congress leader from Rajasthan, told reporters.
“Not just Rajasthan, but the people of India, have asked him to change his mind, take back his resignation and work as president again,” he added.
Former Union minister and senior party leader Shashi Tharoor said that all in the Congress must rededicate themselves to the values and principles of the party and country’s Constitution.
“The Indian nation must unite to reclaim and resuscitate our institutions. The instrument of this resuscitation will be the Congress party. All of us in Congress must rededicate ourselves to the values and principles of our party and our nation’s Constitution.
The time for renewal is now,” Tharoor, who is a Congress MP for Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, said in a tweet.

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