The Congress in Maharashtra has thrown its weight behind Rahul Gandhi, saying he remains the best bet for the revival of the party.
At a Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, Mr. Gandhi offered to resign from the post of president following the party’s defeat in the general election, nearly a year and a half after he took over the top job from his mother Sonia Gandhi.
Mr. Gandhi is not responsible for the defeat, for which the cadre are responsible, the Maharashtra leadership said in a resolution passed unanimously on Saturday. “Mr. Gandhi has worked as hard as any of us, and that work not gone waste. There is no need for him to resign. Instead, the leadership at the State level — wherever the party has performed poorly — must step down...,” Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan said, owning up to the defeat in the State. The Congress won a single seat of the total of 48 in one of its worst performances in decades. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won 41 seats.
The State leadership said the failure to forge an alliance with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) cost the Congress 10-11 seats. “The VBA dented our chances, and its presence benefited the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in at least 11 seats. The VBA worked as the B team of the BJP. I am taking the full onus of this failure as well, and am ready to step down from the post of president,” said Mr. Chavan, who was defeated in Nanded.
The party leaders ruled out any difference with the Nationalist Congress Party, and the alliance would continue despite the heavy losses. “There are no differences with the NCP, and whatever decisions taken was with their consent,” said Mr Chavan.