Congress president Rahul Gandhi could offer to step down as party chief when the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meets on Saturday to analyse the 2019 Lok Sabha election debacle.
The ripple effect of the party’s crushing defeat was evident as various State leaders announced their resignations, owning moral responsibility.
Uttar Pradesh Congress president Raj Babbar and the Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik were among the party functionaries who publicly announced their decision to quit.
And more resignations are expected when the party’s highest decision-making body undertakes a post mortem on the verdict.
Many of the State in-charges are expected to not only explain their position but also offer their resignations during the CWC meeting.
In 18 States and Union Territories, the party failed to open its account and as many as nine former Chief Ministers were defeated across the country.
Mr. Gandhi’s continuance as leader of the party has become difficult as the Congress has not only lost two consecutive Lok Sabha polls but the Congress chief also lost his own seat of Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani.
Asked whether he would resign as party chief, Mr. Gandhi told reporters at a press conference on Thursday, “That you can leave between me and the Working Committee.”
The formal entry of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) East also failed to enthuse voters despite her extensive campaign.
In fact, Congress candidates on most seats in U.P. registered very low vote shares and only former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi managed to win her seat from Rae Bareli with a margin of 1.67 lakh votes.
“The results are depressing for the Uttar Pradesh Congress. I find myself guilty of not discharging my responsibility in a proper manner. I will meet the leadership and apprise it of my views,” Mr. Babbar tweeted in Hindi.
The near wipe out of the Congress in the Hindi heartland States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan that it had won just five months would also be under scrutiny of the CWC.
The working of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka is also likely to be reviewed, with both the partners managing only one each of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from the State.
H.K. Patil, who headed the Congress Campaign Committee, has already sent his papers to Mr. Gandhi.