STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to offer his resignation at a meeting of the party’s working committee called in the capital on Saturday to deliberate on the shock defeat of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The Congress is down to 52 seats, up just eight seats from its historically low performance of 44 in the previous Lok Sabha election. But the 2019 loss is huge considering negligible gains for the Congress, blank performance in 19 states and the embarrassing personal loss of Rahul Gandhi from the bastion of Amethi where he was trounced by minister Smriti Irani by over 52,000 votes, a comfortable win. Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the matter of his resignation was between the Congress and him and it would be discussed at the CWC meet. This was the first LS election the Congress fought under the presidency of Rahul Gandhi who assumed the mantle of the organisation from past president and mother Sonia Gandhi in December 2017.
Congress leaders privately feel Rahul Gandhi’s resignation could be turned down by the CWC even though he would be obliged to make the offer given his inability to defend Amethi or to steer Congress to even a modest total.
With 52 MPs the Congress is still short of two seats to claim the post of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha which means it is pretty much where it was in 2014, and worse with Rahul Gandhi having to enter the Lok Sabha from a segment in Kerala.
It’s unclear what view the CWC will take and given Sonia Gandhi’s hold on the party most leaders believe the offer of resignation would be cosmetic and would be turned down.
A section of party leaders wish though that the Congress should experiment with something drastic, perhaps even a non-Gandhi president.
The ball is now in Sonia Gandhi’s court.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper