Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday reportedly offered to step down from the post after the party's dismal show in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections 2019. The Congress chief offered his resignation during at the high-profile Congress Working Committee meeting held at party headquarters in Delhi on Saturday.
Following Rahul Gandhi's resignation offer, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi spoke to him and rethink his decision. Several other senior leaders were also against the decision. Manmohan Singh reportedly told Rahul Gandhi that victory and defeat is a part of life and that there was no need for him to step down.
However, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala denied the reports and said that Rahul Gandhi didn't offer his resignation, reported ANI news agency.
Earlier in the day, several Congress leaders, including senior leader and national spokesperson Sanjay Jha, said that there was no need for the Congress chief to quit. "I don’t think Rahul Gandhi has been more established, popular, loved and respected within Congress then he is today," Jha had said during a television debate.
Although the Congress did better than its 2014 performance (44 seats) and won 8 more seats, the party could not open its account in several states and Union Territories. The party didn't win a single seat in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman Diu and Lakshadweep.
The biggest embarrasment came from Uttar Pradesh where the Congress chief himself lost the traditional Amethi seat to Union Minister Smriti Irani by a margin of over 55,000 votes. During a press confernece post the Lok Sabha elections results, Rahul Gandhi had taken the full responsibility of the party's brute poll drubbing.
Reduced to just 52 seats in the Lok Sabha, the present situation of the Congress is far cry from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. While Nehru led Congress into victory in three General Elections of 1951, 1957 and 1962, Indira too secured back to back victory in 1967 and 1971. She against led the party to a victory in 1980 elections.
After Rajiv Gandhi's assasination, Sonia Gandhi took the reins of the Congress party and bruoght its out of the crisis post her husband's death. Sonia led the party to victory in 2004 and 2009. Although this was Rahul Gandhi's first election as Congress cheif and the defeat in the 2014 was also seen as the failure of his leadership as he was the prime ministerial candidate of the party.