Won’t continue as Cong chief: Rahul to MPs

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26

Congress President Rahul Gandhi today said he had made up his mind to quit the post and was not changing his mind for anything.

Gandhi told party’s Lok Sabha MPs at a strategy meeting that his decision to resign as Congress president was final but he would commit himself to party work with double energy and zeal.

“There has to be a principle of accountability in politics. It is high time. I am accountable for the Congress loss in the recent Lok sabha election and I have decided not to continue as party president. That is non-negotiable,” Gandhi told party’s Lok Sabha members today.

The Congress chief was responding to impassioned appeals from MPs to stay.

“I have made up my mind and I am not continuing,” a firm Rahul Gandhi is learnt to have said to the meeting which his mother and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi chaired and moderated.

With Gandhi clarifying matters, it is evident his meetings this week with leaders of Delhi, Haryana and JK, may not yield concrete results, organisation wise and he would hold these meetings to fulfil his responsibilities during the period of transition until the next party president takes over.

To a suggestion from Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari to set up a committee to look into the recent general election loss and then take a further call, Rahul said it was not for him to set up such a committee.

Gandhi said he had tendered his resignation on May 25 to the Congress Working Committee and it was now for the CWC to form a committee and look into what led to party’s losses. “Rahul Gandhi’s argument was that since he felt accountable for party’s LS loss it was not fair for him to set up a panel to study that loss. He said the CWC has to do that,” a Congress MP told The Tribune.

Tewari’s suggestion on the need to form a panel to introspect poll losses and see why the Congress is where it is was endorsed by Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor who, while urging Rahul to stay, said: “Elections were not the real challenge. The real challenge is the current crisis and therefore you must stay.”

The first MP to appeal to Gandhi to reconsider his resignation was Tamil Nadu’s Thirunavukkarasar. Others included Revant Reddy, JS Dimpa, Ravneet Bittu, Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor. Thirunavukkarasar opened the discussions saying the House should pass a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to stay as Congress President.

Gandhi, however, disallowed it saying he had decided to quit.

RELATED WB Cong chief resigns, party turns it down