New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted an open letter Wednesday taking responsibility for the party’s Lok Sabha loss while implying other heads will soon roll. Sources said that Motilal Vora is likely to be the interim president of the party.
“Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019,” reads Gandhi’s letter. “It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party.”
Gandhi also hinted at his disappointment by the lack of support from party colleagues in his fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “I fought because I love India… At times, I stood completely alone and am extremely proud of it.”
It is an honour for me to serve the Congress Party, whose values and ideals have served as the lifeblood of our beautiful nation.
I owe the country and my organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love.
Jai Hind 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/WWGYt5YG4V
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 3, 2019
The Congress chief also questioned the neutrality of institutions and fairness of elections in the country. Gandhi sees an imminent danger in the country, and fears that elections may now just become a “mere ritual”.
“It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India,” Gandhi wrote. “Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened. There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual.”
Stating that he was born a Congerssman and will always remain one, Gandhi said that the Congress needs to “radically transform itself”.
“It is a habit in India that the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power,” added Gandhi signing off the letter with a “Jai Hind”.
Gandhi has also updated his Twitter bio, which now describes him as a “member” of the Indian National Congress.
Gandhi firm on resigning
Rahul Gandhi categorically said Wednesday he was no longer the president of the Congress, and asked the party to pick a new chief “without further delay”.
“The party should decide on the new president quickly without further delay, I’m nowhere in this process,” Gandhi told ANI. “I have already submitted my resignation and I am no longer the party president. The CWC (Congress Working Committee) should convene a meeting at the earliest and decide.”
Congress leaders had been waiting for a sign from Gandhi to convene a meeting of the CWC, the party’s top decision-making body, as it will have to reach a consensus on Gandhi’s successor.
“There is no chance he (Rahul) will change his mind,” a senior Congress leader told ThePrint. “You should expect to hear about a new chief in the next 2-3 days.”
The names of senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot have been doing the rounds for the top post in the party. The Congress has been suffering a leadership crisis since the Lok Sabha poll rout with Rahul Gandhi time and again expressing his intent to quit.
Not the first time
Congress leaders that ThePrint spoke to said this was not the first time that Rahul had said he was not the party president.
“This is not the first Rahul has said this; he said the same thing on 26 May,” one of the CWC members told ThePrint. “It’s just that senior leaders are not willing to accept it. They need to sit with Soniaji and take a decision.”
Members of the CWC that ThePrint spoke to said they had, however, not been informed about a meeting so far.
Gandhi has been firm on stepping down ever since the party’s poll rout as he wanted to take “responsibility” for the defeat. While he was insistent on his decision, Congress leaders and workers have been consistently trying to convince him otherwise.
A Congress member even attempted to commit suicide Tuesday hoping to persuade the party’s top leader. Workers have sitting on a hunger strike at the All India Congress Headquarters (AICC) in New Delhi and were even joined by senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Ashok Gehlot Tuesday. Over the weekend, nearly 200 Congress office-bearers quit their posts in solidarity with Gandhi, but the latter seems to have remained unmoved.