CWC rejects Rahul’s offer to quit, asks him to overhaul party

Stock-taking: Rahul Gandhi emerging from the CWC meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, May 25, 2019.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Saturday ‘unanimously’ rejected party president Rahul Gandhi’s offer to step down and urged him to overhaul the party.

But the last word may have not been spoken as Mr. Gandhi is believed to be adamant about his decision to quit from the party post, which he had assumed in December 2017.

‘Ordinary worker’

He is also learnt to have told party leaders to consider “someone outside the Gandhi family” as his replacement and expressed his desire to function as an “ordinary worker”.

Though the Congress “officially” denied it, Mr. Gandhi is learnt to have asked the party “not to drag in his sister Priyanka while looking for his replacement”.

Interestingly, Mr. Gandhi didn’t interact with the media after the marathon, four-hour meeting.

“Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi, in his address to the CWC, offered his resignation as the party president. The CWC unanimously rejected the same and requested the Congress president for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times,” said the CWC resolution.

read out in the press conference by party general secretary K.C. Venugopal.

“The CWC fully recognises the challenges, the failures and the shortcomings, resulting into this mandate. The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress President for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party. A plan to this effect shall come into force at the earliest,” the resolution which was read out by party general secretary K.C. Venugopal added.

Behind closed doors, several top leaders including former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh urged Mr. Gandhi not to take a hasty decision and suggested that a panel of senior leaders could go into the reasons for the 2019 loss.

An emotional former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram pointed out that south India had endorsed Mr. Gandhi’s leadership and if he quit as Congress chief, there would be an emotional outburst from party cadres and supporters.

The Congress chief’s sister and general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, too tried to persuade Mr. Gandhi to stay on and ‘not get into a trap by quitting’.

At the official briefing of the CWC meeting, senior leaders like A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, K.C. Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala underscored the fact that the Working Committee was the highest decision-making body that has empowered Mr. Gandhi to bring about far reaching changes in every level of the party.

“I don't agree that it was a disastrous performance; we were not able to rise up to the expectations. Party will discuss this in detail. Today we had only general discussions,” Mr. Antony said.

Mr. Azad told reporters that the CWC members had urged the Congress chief to continue as he knew the functioning of the party well and “another person will need the next five years to understand how it functions”.

The near wipe out of the Congress in the Hindi heartland States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where it had won Asselmbly polls just five months ago also came under scrutiny.

Expressing displeasure over the performance of the Congress in States, Mr. Gandhi told CWC members that senior leaders whose children got tickets didn't work quite beyond those seats. And in some States, internal fights cost the party dear.

“The decimation of the party in the States where we are in power is a matter of serious concern. There is need for thorough introspection and corrective action,” said Mr. Surjewala.

Thanking the 12.13 crore voters who had voted for the Congress, the CWC talked about playing the role of a constructive Opposition.

“The issue of surging oil prices post sanctions against Iran as also price rise stares us in the face. Banking sector is in dire straits with uncontrolled and unchecked NPA’s soaring to nearly 12 lakh crores…The downturn of economy coupled with lack of private investment and a steep fall in consumption patterns, point towards grave economic slowdown,” said the CWC resolution.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:24:10 PM |

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