Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has shot down veteran party leader Ashok Gehlot’s request that he continue as party chief, saying he had made his decision clear.
Gandhi’s statement came after the Rajasthan Chief Minister took to Twitter today to voice his opinion. “We firmly believe that only he [Rahul Gandhi] can lead the party in the current scenario, his commitment towards well being of our country and countrymen is un-compromised and unmatched,” Gehlot wrote.
The party chief’s denial came just ahead of a meeting of Congress chief ministers with Gandhi to not only discuss his decision to quit but also brainstorm over the dismal performance of the grand old party in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, especially in the Hindi heartland states where it won three assembly elections in December last.
Gehlot, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy will be present at the meeting with Gandhi on Monday. Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara is also likely to come for the meet.
Gandhi, who became the party president in 2017, had on May 25 offered to step down from his post at the Congress Working Committee (CWC), taking moral responsibility for the party’s abysmal performance in the Lok Sabha elections. He had also lamented that Nath and Gehlot had kept their sons over the party.
While the party rejected his proposal, he has been adamant about his wish to quit. The move sparked a domino effect in the party, with several leaders tendering their resignation.
Gandhi had said he took the decision to ensure accountability for the party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle and there was no question of going back on it. “I have resigned after taking full responsibility and ensuring accountability for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. I cannot ask others to resign too. It is up to them if they want to take responsibility,” he had said.
But sources say the Congress chief has privately expressed anger with many leaders who continue to stay on in their positions.