I am still going to quit, Rahul tells party

I am still going to quit, Rahul tells party

Sulking Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday told Lok Sabha members of the party that he was firm on quitting the top post and that the organisation has to look for an alternative soon. (PTI Photo)

Sulking Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday told Lok Sabha members of the party that he was firm on quitting the top post and that the organisation has to look for an alternative soon.

Rahul's remarks came at the meeting of the party's Lok Sabha members convened by Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party in Parliament, even as Youth Congress activists staged a sit-in outside his 12, Tughlaq Road residence demanding that he withdraw his resignation.

Rahul had offered to quit as Congress President at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on May 25 owning up responsibility for the party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. The CWC had rejected his resignation offer and asked him to restructure the party organisation.

At Wednesday's meeting, the party's Lok Sabha members urged Rahul to withdraw his resignation telling him clearly that the uncertainty over the leadership was making them tough to face the voters in their constituencies.

“Even in Parliament we are facing taunts from the BJP over the uncertainty over the leadership issue,” a Congress Lok Sabha member said.

After the initial melee, senior Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari took matters in their hand and sought to engage Rahul is a debate on why Rahul needs to continue as Congress president.

The thrust of the argument by Tharoor and Tewari was on the principle of collective responsibility for the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and the need for a strong leader to counter the saffron surge. Sonia remained silent during the meeting.

However, Rahul made it clear to the party leaders that he was firm on his decision to quit and stressed on the need for accountability in the organisation.

“Earlier, there were no resignations from leaders after the loss of any election, Rahul wants to start a new chapter of accountability,” a senior leader said.

He claimed that even a few Lok Sabha members saw reason in Rahul's arguments.

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