It's formal, Rahul steps down as Cong chief

Rahul Gandhi

Congress is all set to have a non-Gandhi-Nehru family member as its president as Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday made a public announcement of his decision to step down from the post, ignoring pleas from senior leaders.

On May 25, 49-year-old Rahul had told the Congress Working Committee (CWC) his intention to quit as Congress president owning responsibility for the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

“As president of the Congress party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President,” Rahul said in an open letter shared on his Twitter handle.

Rahul also made it clear that he will not involve himself in the selection of his successor. However, he said he was not walking away from party activities and will continue to fight for the ideals of the Congress party with “all my strength”.

“Immediately after resigning, I suggested to my colleagues in the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president,” he said.

'Lonely battle'

The four-page letter also had a tinge of remorse about fighting a lonely battle against opponents such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS and the institutions “they have captured”.

“I fought because I love India. And I fought to defend the ideals India was built upon. At times, I stood completely alone and am extremely proud of it,” Rahul said. Pushing for radical reforms in the organisation, Rahul stressed that “numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019”.

“It would be unjust to hold others accountable and ignore my own responsibility as president of the Congress party,” Rahul said.

He said he had suggested to the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president.

“...I trust the party will make the best decision regarding who can lead with courage, love and fidelity,” said Rahul, who was elected as Congress President in December 2017.

Rahul, who lost the Lok Sabha elections from his traditional Amethi seat, has been adamant on stepping down since May 25, taking moral responsibility for the party’s disastrous performance. Several pleas by Congress leaders to Rahul to continue in the post have failed to break his resolve.

Congress sources said AICC General Secretary in charge of the organisation is expected to convene a meeting of the CWC soon to decide on the next course of action.

The CWC is expected to appoint an interim president and names of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Sushilkumar Shinde are doing the rounds as probable successors to Rahul.

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