With anger building up within the Congress, which suffered its worst-ever defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi may offer to resign their posts at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee here on May 19, sources said.
But there are differences over whether this is a good idea, party sources told The Hindu, as their resignations will not be accepted. “Their resignations will not be accepted and so it might look as if the offer is part of a drama,” the sources said, adding, “What is the point of a resignation if it is to be taken back? It would be better to have a serious stocktaking exercise, plan a chintan shivir and look for a way forward. In the Congress, only the current leadership will be acceptable to everyone in the party.”
The talk of the top two putting in their papers comes a day after Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Gandhi publicly accepted moral responsibility for the party’s decimation in the polls.
“The Congress has done pretty badly, [there is] a lot for us to think about. As vice-president, I hold myself responsible,” Mr. Gandhi said on Friday. Ms Gandhi, speaking in Hindi, acknowledged, “The people's verdict is against us... As Congress president I take responsibility for the defeat.”Stormy meet likely
Whether the Gandhis offer their resignations or not on Monday, the party sources said, the CWC meeting promises to be stormy. “The leadership may not be attacked but those seen as close to Mr. Gandhi, who planned the selection of candidates and election strategy, may be targeted. The opportunity may be used to play the blame game.”
Meanwhile, the outgoing Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, in a TV interview, defended Mr. Gandhi, saying there was no need for him to resign. “I don't think he is a liability or is out of sync,” Mr. Nath said adding, “The party made Mr. Gandhi its vice-president and only the party can remove him, but it does not want to do so.”
On Friday, the former Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, who defeated senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in Amritsar, told reporters: “Absolutely, Ms. Gandhi should carry on [lead the party] for some time.”
There are many in the Congress who would prefer the process of power shift from Ms. Gandhi to her son slowing down until the party recovers, as they have greater faith in her leadership skills.